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GHARAGTBRS 



AND STRANGE BVBJNfrS 







BOUGHT WITH THE INCOME 
FROM THE 

SAGE ENDOWMENT FUND 

THE GIFT OF 

Henrg W. Sage 

1891 



Cornell University Library 
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3 1924 028 026 536 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of tiiis book is in 
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CORNISH CHARACTERS 
AND STRANGE EVENTS 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR 

UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUMB 

DEVONSHIRE CHARACTERS 
AND STRANGE EVENTS 
With 55 Full-page Illustrations 
Reproduced from Old Prints, etc. 




THOMAS rn [, l.OKI) (.A.MKI.l'ORI 



CORNISH 

CHARACTERS 

AND STRANGE EVENTS 
BY S. RARING-QpULD, M.A. 

WITH 6rFULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS 
REPRODUCED FROM OLD PRINTS, ETC. 




"We all are men, 
In our own natures frail, and capable 
Of our flesh ; few are angels." 

Henry VIII (Act V, Sc. 2). 



LONDON: JOHN LANE THE BODLEY HEAD 
NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY MCMIX 

A 



PLYMOUTH : WILLIAM BRF.NDON AND SOH, LTD., 



PREFACE 

CORNWALL, peopled mainly by Celts, but 
with an infusion of English blood, stands and 
always has stood apart from the rest of Eng- 
land, much, but in a less degree, as has 
Wales. That which brought it into more intimate 
association with English thought, interests, and pro- 
gress was the loss of the old Cornish tongue. 

The isolation in which Cornwall had stood has 
tended to develop in it much originality of character ; 
and the wildness of the coast has bred a hardy race of 
seamen and smugglers ; the mineral wealth, moreover, 
drew thousands of men underground, and the under- 
ground life of the mines has a peculiar effect on mind 
and character : it is cramping in many ways, but it 
tends to develop a good deal of religious enthusiasm, 
that occasionally breaks forth in wild forms of fanati- 
cism. Cornwall has produced admirable sailors, men 
who have won deathless renown in warfare at sea, as 
"Old Dreadnought" Boscawen, Pellew, Lord Ex- 
mouth, etc., and daring and adventurous smugglers, 
like "The King of Prussia," who combined great 
religious fervour with entire absence of scruple in the 
matter of defrauding the king's revenue. It has pro- 
duced men of science who have made for themselves 
a world-fame, as Adams the astronomer, and Sir 



viii CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Humphry Davy the chemist ; men who have been 
benefactors to their race, as Henry Trengrouse, Sir 
Goldsworthy Gurney, and Trevithick. It has sent 
forth at least one notable painter, the miner's boy Opie, 
and a dramatist, Samuel Foote, and a great singer in 
his day, Incledon. But it has not given to literature 
a great poet. Minor rhymes have been produced in 
great quantities, but none of great worth. Philoso- 
phers have issued from the mines, as Samuel Drew, 
eccentrics many, as Sir James Tillie, John Knill, and 
Daniel Gumb. And Cornwall has contributed a 
certain number of rascals — but fewer in number than 
almost any other county, if we exclude wreckers and 
smugglers from the catalogue of rascality. 

Strange superstitions have lingered on, and one very 
curious story of a girl fed for years by fairies has been 
put on record. 

It is Somewhat remarkable that Cornwall has pro- 
duced no musical genius of any note ; and yet the 
Cornishman is akin to the Welshman and the Irishman. 

Cornwall has certainly sent up to London and 
Westminster very able politicians, as Godolphin, Sir 
William Molesworth, and Sir John Eliot. It furnished 
Tyburn with a victim — Hugh Peters, the chaplain of 
Oliver Cromwell, a strange mixture of money-grasp- 
ing, enthusiasm, and humour. 

It has been the object of the author, not to retell the 
lives of the greatest of the sons of Cornwall, for these 
lives may be read in the Dictionary of National 
Biography, but to chronicle the stories of lesser 
luminaries concerning whom less is known and little 
is easily accessible. In this way it serves as a com- 



PREFACE ix 

panion volume to Devonshire Characters; and Cornwall 
in no particular falls short of Devonshire in the 
variety of characters it has sent forth, nor are their 
stories of less interest. 

The author and publisher have to thank many for 
kind help : Mr. Percy Bate, Mr. T. R. Bolitho, Rev. 
A. T. Boscawen, Mr. J. A. Bridger, Mr. T. Walter 
Brimacombe, Mr. A. M. Broadley, Mr. R. P. Chope, 
Mr. Digby Collins, Mr. J. B. Cornish, Mrs. Coryton 
of Pentillie Castle, Miss Loveday E. Drake, Mr. 
E. H. W. Dunkin, f.s.a., Mr. J. D. Enys of Enys, 
the Rev. Wm. lago, Mrs. H. Forbes Julian, Mrs. 
de Lacy Lacy, the Rev. A. H. Malan, Mr. Lewis 
Melville, Mr. A. H. Norway, Captain Rogers of Pen- 
rose, Mr. Thomas Seccombe, Mr. Henry Trengrouse, 
Mr. W. H. K. Wright, and Mr. Henry Young of 
Liverpool — and last, but not least, Miss Windeatt 
Roberts for her admirable Index to the volume. 

The publisher wishes me to say that he would 
much like to discover the whereabouts of a full-length 
portrait of Sir John Call, with a view of Bodmin Gaol 
in the background, 

S. BARING-GOULD. 



CONTENTS 



FAGB 

WILLIAM PENGELLY, GEOLOGIST I 

SIR CHARLES WILLS, K.B. 12 

LIEUTENANT GOLDSMITH AND THE LOGAN ROCK 1 8 

HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 26 

JAMES POLKINGHORNE, THE WRESTLER .... 54 

HENRY TRENGROUSE, INVENTOR 59 

THE BOTATHAN GHOST J 2 

JOHN COUCH ADAMS, ASTRONOMER 83 

DANIEL GUMB 9I 

LAURENCE BRADDON 96 

THOMASINE BONAVENTURA loS 

THE MURDER OF NEVILL NORWAY I17 

SIR WILLIAM LOWER, KNT, 1 26 

THE PIRATES AT PENZANCE 130 

DAME KILLIGREW I33 

TWO NATURALISTS IN CORNWALL I4I 

John Ralfs 

Georgfe Carter Bignell 

SIR JOHN CALL, BART. X54 

JOHN KNILL 169 

THOMAS TREGOSS 1 76 

ANTHONY PAYNE 181 

NEVIL NORTHEY BURNARD 1 86 

SIR GOLDSWORTHY GURNEY, KNT., INVENTOR . . I92 

THE JANES . . . . . . . . 206 



Xll 



CORNISH CHARACTERS 



THE PENNINGTONS . 

DOCTOR GLYNN-CLOBERY . 

THREE MEN OF MOUSEHOLE 

DOLLY PENTREATH . 

ROBERT JEFFERY OF POLPERRO 

ADMIRAL RICHARD DARTON THOMAS 

COMMANDER JOHN POLLARD 

THE CASE OF BOSAVERN PENLEZ 

SAMUEL FOOTE 

THE LAST LORD MOHUN . 

THE LAST LORD CAMELFORD . 

WILLIAM NOYE 

WILLIAM LEMON 

SAMUEL DREW 

THE SIEGE OF SKEWIS 

THE VOYAGE OF JOHN SANDS . 

CHARLES INCLEDON . 

THE MURDER OF RICHARD CORYTON 

SIR JAMES TILLIE, KNT. 

LIEUTENANT JOHN HAWKEY 

DR. DANIEL LOMBARD 

THE DREAM OF MR. WILLIAMS 

SIR ROBERT TRESILIAN 

PIRATE TRELAWNY . 

JAMES SILK BUCKINGHAM 

MARY ANN DAVENPORT, ACTRESS 

THE ROYAL FAMILY OF PRUSSIA 

CAPTAIN RICHARD KEIGWIN 

THE LOSS OF THE " KENT " 

VICE-ADMIRAL SIR CHARLES V. PENROSE 



CONTENTS xiii 

PAGE 

SIR CHRISTOPHER HAWKINS, BART 515 

ANNE JEFFERIES . . . . -531 

THOMAS KILLIGREW, THE KING's JESTER .... 544 

NICOLAS ROSCARROCK 554 

LIEUTENANT PHILIP G. KING 559 

HICKS OF BODMIN 569 

CAPTAIN TOBIAS MARTIN 579 

THE MAYOR OF BODMIN 586 

JOHN NICHOLS TOM, ALIAS SIR WILLIAM COURTENAY, K.M. 593 

THE BOHELLAND TRAGEDY 614 

MARY KELYNACK 620 

CAPTAIN WILLIAM ROGERS 623 

JOHN BURTON OF FALMOUTH 627 

THE FATE OF SIR CLOUDESLEY SHOVEL . -637 

FRANCIS TREGIAN 652 

ANN GLANVILLE 663 

JONATHAN SIMPSON, HIGHWAYMAN 670 

DAVIES GILBERT 675 

JAMES HOSKIN, FARMER 682 

JOHN HARRIS, THE MINER POET . . 692 

EDWARD CHAPMAN 70I 

JOHN COKE OF TRERICE 704 

THOMAS FELLOW OF PENRYN 707 

THE ORIGIN OF THE ROBARTES FAMILY . . 718 

THEODORE PALEOLOGUS 727 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Thomas Pitt, Lord Camelford Fronth^ece 

TO FACE PAGE 

William Pengelly . . . . . ^ . . . . 2 

From a painting by A. S. CopCj reproduced by permission of Mrs. H. Forbes 
Julian 

Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Wills 12 

From an engraving by Simon, after a picture by M. Dahl 

A View of the Celebrated Logan Kock, near Land's End 
IN Cornwall 18 

Taken after the Rock was displaced on the 8th of April, 1824. From a litho- 
graph by Vibert, after a drawing by Tonkin 

A View of the Southern Part of Castle Treryn, showing 
the Machinery erected for the purpose of replacing the 
Logan Rock 22 

From a lithograph by Vibert, after a drawing by Tonkin 

Hugh Peters 26 

From an old engraving 

James PolkinghornEj the Famous Cornish Wrestler . ' . 54 

From a drawing as he appeared in the Ring at Devonport on Monday, 
23 October, 1S26, when he threw Ab™. Cann, the Champion of Devonshire, 
for a stake of 200 sovereigns 

Henry Trengrouse, the Inventor of the Rocket Apparatus 
for Saving Life at Sea 60 

From an oil painting by Opie the younger, reproduced by permission of Mr H. 
Trengrouse 

The Wreck of the "Anson" 66 

From a sketch by Mr. H. Trengrouse 

*' Parson Rudall" 72 

From a painting in the possession of the Rev. S. Baring-Gould 

John Couch Adams . . .84 

From a mezzotint by Samuel Cousins, a.h.a., after a picture by Thomas 
Mogford. From the collection of Mrs. Lewis Lane 

John Couch Adams ^ . 88 

The Cheese-wring 92 

From an etching by Letilia Byrne, after a drawing by J. Farington, k.a. 

XV 



xvi CORNISH CHARACTERS 

TO FACE PA' 

Nevill Norway ' 

From a painting in the possession of Miss A. T. Norway 

Sir William Lower ^ 

The Killygrew Cup '. 

" 1633. from maior to maior to the towne of permarin, 
where they received mee that was in great misery" 

Jane Killygrew 

This cup has been recently valued at the sum of ;£4cx30. It measures just two 
feet in height 

George Carter Bignell i' 

From a photograph 

John Ralfs i' 

Reproduced by permission of Miss Loveday E. Drake 

Sir John Call, Bart i; 

From a portrait (by A. Hickle) in the possession of his great-granddaughter, 
Mrs. de Lacy Lacy 

Whiteford — the Residence of Sir John Call . . . . i( 

From a drawing in the possession of Mrs. de Lacy Lacy 

John Knill . i; 

After a picture by Opie in the possession of Captain Rogers, of Penrose 

Glass inscribed "Success to the Eagle Frigate, John Knill, 
Commander" i; 

From the collection of Percy Bate, Esq., of Glasgow 

Anthony Payne li 

From a painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller, purchased by Sir Robert Harvey, 
High Sheriff of Cornwall, igor, and presented to the Institute of Cornwall 

Nevil Northey BURNARD li 

From a bas-relief by the sculptor himself, in the possession of S. Pearn, Esq., 
Altarnon 

Wesley's Head over the Old Meeting-house, Penpont, 
Altarnon. Cut by Burnard when 16 years of age . . .if 

Tombstones cut by Burnard li 

That on the right is upon the grave of his grandfather in Altarnon Churchyard, 
and was cut when the sculptor was only 14 years old ; the one on the left is in 
Bodmin Churchyard 

Tombstones in Altarnon Churchyard. Cut by Burnard . . i( 
Sir Goldsworthy Gurney u 

From a lithograph by W. Sharp, after a drawing by S. C. Smith 

Dorothy Pentreath of Mousehole in Cornwall. The last 
Person who could Converse in the Cornish Language . 2; 

From a drawing by R. Scadden 

Monschole, in Mount's Bay, from the Island . . .2' 

From a drawing by Captain Tremenhere 



ILLUSTRATIONS xvii 

TO FACE PAGE 

Samuel Foote 280 

The Last Lord Mohun 298 

From a mezzotint by I. Faber, after a picture by Sir Godfrey Kneller 

The Duel between Lord Mohun and the Duke of Hamilton 312 

From a contemporary mezzotint in the Britisli Museum , 

Sir William Noye, Attorney-General to King Charles the 
First 3,0 

Sir William Lemon, Bart., M.P. for Cornwall . . .342 

From an engraving by J. H. Meyer 

Samuel Drew 346 

From an engraving by R, Hicks, after a painting by F. Moore 

Henry Rogers, Pewterer 364 

Charles Incledon, as Macheath . . . . . . 376 

From an engraving by J. Thomson, after a painting by Singleton 

Sir James Tillie, Knt 400 

Sir James Tillie's Monument at Pentillie .... 406 
Edward John Trelawny 442 

From a drawing by D. Lucas 

James Silk Buckingham 456 

Mrs. Davenport, in the Character of Mrs. Grundy . . 466 

From an engraving by Ridley, after a picture by De Wilde 

At Prussia Cove. "Bessy's" Cove from Battery Point . 470 

From a drawing in the possession of J. B. Cornish, Esq. 

John Carter's House at Prussia Cove. (Demolished in 1906) 476 

From a photograph by Gibson & Sons, Penzance 

Vice-Admiral Sir Charles V. Penrose, k.c.b 500 

From a picture by Allingham 

Thomas Killigrew, Groom of the Bedchamber to King 
Charles the Second , S44 

From an engraving by I. Vander vaart, after a picture by W. Wissens 

Lieutenant Philip Gidley King S6o 

From an engraving by W. Skelton, after a drawing by J. Wright 

William R. Hicks 57° 

William R. Hicks of Bodmin 576 

From a Caricature 



xviii CORNISH CHARACTERS 

TO FACE PAGE 

John Thomas, otherwise Sir William Courtenay, who shot 
Lieutenant Bennet in Basenden Wood, Boughton, near 
Canterbury, and the Constable Mears, on Thursday, 
May 31ST, 1838 . 594 

Percy Honeywood Courtenay, Knight of Malta, etc. etc., 

AS HE appeared AT THE ELECTION IN 1832 .... 608 

Mary Kelynack 620 

Captain W. Rogers . . . 624 

From an engraving by Ridley and Blood, after a picture by Drummond 

John Burton of Falmouth 628 

Sir Cloodesley Shovel 638 

Ann Glanville 664 

Davies Gilbert 676 

From a mezzotint by Samuel Cousins, a.r.a,, after a picture by Henry 
Howard, R.A. From the collection of Mrs. Lewis Lane 

John Harris, the Miner Poet 692 

The Right Hon. John Earl of Radnor : Baron Roberts of 
Truro 718 

After Sir Godfrey Kneller 

Memorial Brass in the Church of Landulph . . .728 

Reproduced by permission of E. H. W. Dunkin, Esq., f.s.a., from his book on 
Cornish Brasses 



CORNISH CHARACTERS 
AND STRANGE EVENTS 



CORNISH 

CHARACTERS 

AND STRANGE EVENTS 

WILLIAM PENGELLY, GEOLOGIST 

WILLIAM PENGELLY was born at East 
Looe on January 12th, 1812, and was the 
son of the captain of a small coasting 
vessel and nephew of a notorious smug- 
gler. The Pengellys had, in fact, been connected with 
the sea for several generations. His mother was a 
Prout of the same family as the famous water-colour 
artist. 

As a child his career was almost cut short by fire. 
An aunt came to stay with the Pengellys, arriving a 
day before she was expected. Early on the following 
morning, when sitting in her bedroom window, wrapped 
in a thick woollen shawl, she saw her little nephew 
William rush out of the house enveloped in flames. 
She hurried after him, and managed to smother the fire 
with her woollen garment, and thus saved the child's 
life, though she was herself so badly burnt that she 
carried the scars to her dying day. The little boy had 
risen early, and had kindled a fire so that he might go 
on with his lessons before any one else was astir in the 



2 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

house, with the result that he set light to his clothes, 
and except for the premature arrival of his aunt, must 
certainly have been burnt to death. 
At the age of twelve he went to sea. He says : — 
"Our voyages were short. I do not remember an 
instance of being at sea more than three consecutive 
days ; so that, except when windbound, we were almost 
always taking in or taking out cargo. The work was 
hard, but the food was abundant, and on the whole the 
life, though rough, was not unpleasant. 

"To me — thinking nothing of the pecuniary aspects 
of the question — the most enjoyable occasions were 
those which fierce contrary winds brought us, when we 
had to seek some harbour of refuge. These were by 
no means necessarily holidays, for, if the weather were 
dry, advantage was taken of the enforced leisure to 
give our craft a thorough cleaning, or to repair her 
rigging, or to make up the books. Moreover, the crew 
employed me to write letters to their wives from their 
dictation. These epistles were generally of a remark- 
able character, and some of them remain firmly fixed 
in my memory. The foregoing labours disposed of, 
and foul winds still prevailing, we had a washing day, 
or, better than all, a bout of tailoring, which did not 
generally get beyond repairing, though occasionally 
the ambitious flight of making a pair of trousers 
was attempted. On tailoring days it was understood 
that my clothes should be repaired for me, in order 
that I might read aloud for the general benefit. We 
assembled in our little cabin, where the stitching and 
smoking went on simultaneously, and with great 
vigour. My poor library consisted of a Bible, the 
eighth volume of the Spectator, Johnson's English 
Dictionary, a volume of the Weekly Miscellany, the 
History of John Gilpin, Baron Munchausen's Travels, 




Rcproditced by perinissioii of Mrs, H. Forbes J nliait 



WILLIAM PENGELLY, GEOLOGIST 3 

Walkinghame's Arithmetic, and a book of songs. 
My hearers were not very fastidious, but allowed me to 
read pretty much what I pleased, though, truth to tell, 
the Spectator was not a favourite ; some portions of it 
were held to be nonsensical, and others were considered 
to be so lacking in truthfulness that it was generally 
termed the 'lying book.' This ill repute was largely 
due to the story of Fadlallah (No. 578). Walkinghame 
was by no means unpopular. I occasionally read some 
of the questions, and my shipmates endeavoured to 
solve them mentally ; and as the answers were all given 
by the author, I had to declare who had made the 
nearest guess, for it was very often but little more. Of 
all the questions, none excited so much interest as that 
which asks, What will be the cost of shoeing a horse at 
a farthing for the first nail, two for the second, and so 
on in geometrical progression for thirty-two nails, 
and which gives for the answer a sum but little short of 
four and a half million pounds sterling. This was so 
utterly unexpected that it went far to confer on Walk- 
inghame the same name that Fadlallah had given to the 
Spectator." 

William Pengelly tells a curious story of his father, 
Richard Pengelly : — 

" After completing his fifteenth year he was thinking 
of going to sea. When he was sixteen, his father, who 
was a sailor, was drowned almost within sight of his 
home. The effect on the boy was to make him pause, 
and on his friends, to urge him to give up the idea. 
For some months these influences kept him quiet, but 
at length his restlessness returned so strongly, that he 
would have gone to sea at once, had he felt satisfied 
that his father would have approved the step. To 
ascertain this point he prayed frequently and earnestly 
that his father's spirit might be allowed to appear to 



4 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

him, with a pleasing or frowning aspect, according as 
he might approve or disapprove. At length he 
believed his prayer to have been answered, and that 
when in the field ploughing he saw his father, who 
passed by looking intently and smilingly at him. This 
decided him. He became a sailor at seventeen, and as 
such died at a good old age." 

One bitterly cold night at sea, young Pengelly and 
some other of his shipmates having closed the cabin 
door, lit a charcoal fire, and speedily fell asleep, suc- 
cumbing to the fumes of carbonic acid. Happily one 
of the crew who had been on deck entered the cabin. 
He found the greatest difficulty in awakening his com- 
rades to sufficient consciousness to enable them to 
stumble up the ladder to get a breath of fresh air, for 
their sleep had well-nigh become that of death. The 
strong and hardy seamen soon recovered, but the boy 
was so seriously affected that, long after he had been 
carried upon deck, he could not be roused, and was 
only restored to consciousness by means of prolonged 
exertions on the part of his shipmates. His earliest 
geological experience was made when a sailor-boy 
weather-bound on the Dorsetshire coast, and he was 
wont to relate it thus : — 

"I received my first lesson in geology at Lyme 
Regis, very soon after I had entered my teens. A 
labourer, whom I was observing, accidentally broke a 
large stone of blue lias and thus disclosed a fine am- 
monite—the first fossil of any kind that I had ever seen 
or heard of. 

"In reply to my exclamation, 'What's that?' the 
workman said, with a sneer, 'If you had read your 
Bible you'd know what 'tis.' ' I have read my Bible. 
But what has that to do with it? ' 

'" In the Bible we're told there was once a flood that 



WILLIAM PENGELLY, GEOLOGIST 5 

covered all the world. At that time all the rocks 
were mud, and the different things that were drowned 
were buried in it, and there's a snake that was buried 
that way. There are lots of 'em, and other things 
besides, in the rocks and stones hereabouts.' 

" ' A snake ! But where's his head ? ' 

" ' You must read the Bible, I tell 'ee, and then you'll 
find out why 'tis that some of the snakes in the rocks 
ain't got no heads. We're told there, that the seed of 
the woman shall bruise the serpent's head, that's how 
'tis.'" 

When in his sixteenth year William Pengelly lost 
his younger brother, and after that his mother would 
not suffer him to go to sea. Some years were spent at 
Looe in self-education. 

While still quite young he was induced by a relative 
of his mother to settle at Torquay, at that time a small 
place, but rapidly growing and attracting residents to 
it. Here he opened a small day-school on the Pesta- 
lozzian system, and was one of the first to introduce the 
use of the blackboard and chalk. The school opened 
with six scholars, but rapidly increased to about seventy. 

It was now that scientific studies began to occupy 
Pengelly's attention, and above all, geology. 

In 1837 ^^ married Mary Anne Mudge, whose health 
was always delicate. 

Little by little his renown as a geologist spread, and 
he did not confjne himself to the deposits in Devonshire, 
but travelled to Scotland and elsewhere to examine the 
rocks, and to meet and consult with eminent scientists. 

In 1846 his private pupils had grown so numerous 
that he was able to give up his school altogether and 
become a tutor of mathematics and the natural sciences. 
He tells a very amusing story of a visit made during 
holiday time to an old friend. 



6 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

" I one day learned that my road lay within a couple 
of miles of the rectory of my old mathematical friend 

D , We had been great friends when he was a 

curate in a distant part of the country, but had not 
met for several years, during which he had been ad- 
vanced from a curacy of about ;^8o to a rectory of ;£'200 
per year, and a residence, in a very secluded district. 
My time was very short, but for ' auld lang syne ' I 
decided to sacrifice a few hours. On reaching the 

house Mr. and Mrs. D were fortunately at home, 

and received me with their wonted kindness. 

"The salutations were barely over, when I said — 

" ' It is now six o'clock ; I must reach Wellington to- 
night, and as it is said to be fully eight miles off, and I 
am utterly unacquainted with the road, and with the 
town when I reach it, I cannot remain with you one 
minute after eight o'clock.' 

"'Oh, very well,' said D , 'then we must im- 
prove the shining hour. Jane, my dear, be so good as 
to order tea. ' 

"Having said this he left the room. In a few 
minutes he returned with a book under his arm and his 
hands filled with writing materials, which he placed on 
the table. Opening the book, he said — 

" 'This is Hind's Trigonometry^ and here's a lot of 
examples for practice. Let us see which can do the 
greatest number of them by eight o'clock. I did most 
of them many years ago, but I have not looked at 
them since. Suppose we begin at this one ' — which he 
pointed out — ' and take them as they come. We can 
drink our tea as we work, so as to lose no time.' 

" 'All right,' said I ; though it was certainly not the 
object for which I had come out of my road. 

"Accordingly we set to work. No words passed 
between us ; the servant brought in the tray, Mrs. 



WILLIAM PENGELLY, GEOLOGIST 7 

D handed us our tea, which we drank now and 

then, and the time flew on rapidly. At length, finding 
it to be a quarter to eight — 

*"We must stop,' said I, 'for in a quarter of an 
hour I must be on my road.' 

"'Very well. Let us see how our answers agree 
with those of the author. ' 

"It proved that he had correctly solved one more 
than I had. This point settled, I said ' Good-bye.' 

" 'Good-bye. Do come again as soon as you can. 
The farmers know nothing whatever about Trigo- 
nometry.' 

" We parted at the rectory door, and have never met 
since ; nor shall we ever do so more, as his decease oc- 
curred several years ago. During my long walk to 
Wellington my mind was chiefly occupied with the 
mental isolation of a rural clergyman." 

In 1851 he lost his wife, and some years after both 
his children by her. 

In 1853 he married a Lydia Spriggs, a Quakeress. 

William Pengelly's scientific explorations may be 
divided under three heads. The first was his minute 
and accurate examination of the deposits that form 
Bovey Heathfield, where there are layers of clay, sand, 
and lignite. He was able to extract numerous fossil 
plants, and thereby to determine the approximate age of 
the beds. 

Next he took up the exploration of ossiferous caves ; 
and he began this work with that of Brixham, in Wind- 
mill Hill. 

The floor of this cavern was excavated in successive 
stages or layers, starting from the entrance. Bones 
were found in the stalagmite and in the first, third, and 
fourth beds, and worked flints in the third and fourth 
beds only ; but where the third bed filled the cavern up 



8 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

to the rock, its upper portion contained neither bones 

nor flints. The bones were those of the mammoth, the 

rhinoceros, the urus, hyaena, cave lion and cave bear, 

etc. 

But by far the most laborious scientific undertaking 
of Pengelly's life was the exploration of Kent's Cavern, 
near Torquay. This cave was known as far back as 
1824, when a Mr. Northmore, of Cleve, near Exeter, 
made a superficial examination of it to ascertain 
whether it had been a temple of Mithras, and quite 
satisfied himself on this point. He was followed by 
Sir W. C. Trevelyan and by the Rev. J. MacEnery. 
But it was not till 1865 that a complete, scientific, and 
exhaustive exploration was undertaken by the British 
Association, which made a grant of ;£'ioo for the pur- 
pose. Mr. Pengelly was appointed secretary and 
reporter to the committee for the examination of the 
cave and its deposits. 

It was found that the floor of the cave exhibited the 
following succession : (i) Blocks of limestone some- 
times large, clearly fallen from the roof. (2) A layer of 
black mould ranging from a few inches to upwards 
of a foot in depth. (3) Beneath this came a floor of 
granular stalagmite, about a foot in thickness, formed 
by the drip of water from the roof. (4) A red loam 
containing a number of limestone fragments. (5) A 
breccia of angular fragments of limestone and peb- 
bles and sandstone embedded in a reddish sandy 
calcareous paste. 

On June 19th, 1880, the exploration of Kent's Hole 
was brought to an end. It was the most complete and 
systematic investigation of a cavern that had ever been 
undertaken, and on a much greater scale than that at 
Brixham. A task of this kind is peculiarly exacting. 
It cannot be entrusted to workmen ; it cannot be left 



WILLIAM PENGELLY, GEOLOGIST 9 

to a committee whose members pay but intermittent 
visits : it demands the constant oversight of one man ; 
and this superintendence was given to Pengelly. The 
total amount spent on this exploration was ;;^2000. 
Pengelly states in one of his papers that in the fifteen 
and a quarter years during which the excavation was 
in progress he visited Kent's Hole almost daily, and 
spent over the work, on an average, five hours a day. 

"Above the stalagmite, and principally in the black 
mould, have been found a number of relics belonging 
to different periods, such as socketed celts, and a 
socketed knife of bronze, and some small fragments of 
roughly smelted copper, about four hundred flint flakes, 
cores, and chips, a polishing stone, a ring (made of Kim- 
meridge clay), numerous spindle whorls, bone instru- 
ments terminating in comb-like ends, pottery, marine 
shells, numerous mammalian bones of existing species, 
and some human bones, on which it has been thought 
there are traces indicative of cannibalism. Some of 
the pottery is distinctly Roman in character ; but 
many of the objects belong, no doubt, to pre-Roman 
times." 

What was found beneath the stalagmite belonged to 
a long anterior period, where it had lain sealed up for, 
at the very least, two thousand years. In this deposit 
of the cave earth were found a large number of chips, 
flakes, and implements of flint and chert, stones that 
had served as pounders, and some pins, needles, and 
harpoons of bone. 

Some mammoth bones were found in Kent's Cavern, 
and those of the cave lion, the sabre-toothed tiger, the 
glutton, cave bear, woolly rhinoceros, horse, reindeer, 
and beaver. 

Mr. W. Pengelly died on March 17th, 1894. 

A writer in the Transactions of the Devonshire Asso- 



lo CORNISH CHARACTERS 

ciation for 1894 says : "For science he lived, and for 
science he laboured, even long after the age when the 
average man seeks rest and quiet. Starting out in 
original lines of thought, and untrammelled by tra- 
ditions of years long ago, he met with many rebuffs, 
and the conclusions which he derived from his investi- 
gations and minute and patient inquiry were almost 
laughed to scorn. But he adhered to his work and 
clung to his beliefs, with enthusiastic devotion, and in 
the end he lived to see even those who had originally 
stoutly opposed his views convinced of their verity, 
and their inestimable value to archaeological and geo- 
logical science." 

Pengelly himself left this piece of advice to the 
student : — 

"Be careful in scientific inquiries that you get a 
sufficient number of perfectly trustworthy facts ; that 
you interpret them with the aid of a rigorous logic ; 
that on suitable occasions you have courage enough to 
avow your convictions ; and don't be impatient, or an- 
noyed, if your friends don't receive all your conclusions, 
or even if they call you bad names." 

It must be remembered that Pengelly and Sir Charles 
Lyell were those who startled English minds with the 
revelation of the enormous period of time in which 
man had lived on the earth, and of the slow progres- 
sion of man through vast ages in the development of 
civilization. How that he began with the rudest flint 
implements, and progressed but very slowly to the 
perfection of these stone tools ; how that only in com- 
paratively recent times did he discover the use of metals 
and pottery ; how of metals he first employed bronze, 
and not till long after acquired the art of smelting iron 
and fashioning tools and weapons of iron. All this 
startled the world, and men were very unwilling to accept 



WILLIAM PENGELLY, GEOLOGIST ii 

the doctrine propounded and to acknowledge the facts 
on which this doctrine was based. 

The Life of William Pengelly was written by his 
daughter Hester Pengelly, and published by Murray, 
1897. Reference has been made as well to the obituary 
notice in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association 
for 1894. 



SIR CHARLES WILLS, K.B. 

SIR CHARLES WILLS belonged to a very 
ancient and widely ramified family in Corn- 
wall. The first, however, of whom anything 
authentic is known was Anthony Wills, of 
Saltash, who died in 1576. They were settled at Lan- 
drake, at Morval, Botusfleming, Wyvelscombe, Exeter, 
and Gorran. 

Anthony Wills, of Gorran, youngest son of Digory 
Wills, of Botusfleming, had a son, Anthony Wills, 
who was the father of the Right Hon. Sir Charles 
Wills, K.B., general of His Majesty's forces, bap- 
tized at Gorran 23rd October, 1666. Sir Charles 
had two brothers, Richard, of Acombe, in the county 
of York, and Anthony, of the Inner Temple, who died 
in Ireland 1689. The arms of the family are, arg. three 
griffins passant, in pale, sa., within a bordure engrailed 
of the last bezantee. 

Sir Charles was a subaltern in 1693, when serving in 
the Low Countries under William III. The King 
went to Holland at the end of March in that year, and 
returned on the last day of October, when the armies 
went into winter quarters. Wills was in the battle of 
Landen and at the siege of Namur. On the 13th 
October, 1705, he was appointed colonel of the 30th 
Regiment, and sailed with it to Spain. He acted as 
quartermaster-general to the troops in that country, 
was present at Llenda, Almanza, and Saragossa, and 
was made prisoner in 1711 with the army under 




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III //u-~ytchon. ,i,/,iinj/ l/ii ■ ^1'/ 1//,' ii/ j) i.'liii III J,ni,ii//ii 



SIR CHARLES WILLS, K.B. 13 

General Stanhope, but was released at the end of the 
war. 

He had been appointed brigadier-general in 1707, 
major-general on ist January, 1709, and lieutenant- 
general i6th November, 17 10, After the peace of 1 715, 
being in command of the troops in the Midland dis- 
trict, he marched northwards to meet the rebels from 
Scotland, and he and General Carpenter met them at 
Preston. Preston was a town both Jacobite and Roman 
Catholic ; and in it was the army of the Pretender, 
composed of Scottish Highlanders and Lancashire 
gentry and their retainers. 

General Carpenter, who had been marching into 
Scotland, turned back into Northumberland, and by 
forced marches had reached Durham, where he com- 
bined with General Wills, who had been sent some 
time before into the north to quell the many riots that 
preluded the insurrection. 

Wills concentrated six regiments of cavalry, for the 
most part newly raised, but commanded by experienced 
officers, at Manchester, whence he moved to Wigan. 
There it was arranged that Wills should march straight 
upon Preston, while Carpenter, advancing in another 
direction, should take the insurgents in flank. As the 
Hanoverians approached, General Forster, who com- 
manded the Jacobites, gave satisfactory evidence that 
he was no soldier ; he fell into a fright and confusion, 
and betook himself to bed. But Lord Kenmure roused 
him, and in a hurried council, where all the gentlemen 
had a voice, and where those spoke loudest who knew 
least of war, a plan of defending Preston was adopted. 
But the plan, at least as executed, consisted merely in 
throwing up some barricades in the streets and in 
posting some men in defence of them. Brigadier 
Mackintosh either knew not the ground or his better 



14 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

judgment was overruled ; for Preston offered many 
advantages as a defensive position which were alto- 
gether neglected. In front of the town was a bridge 
over the Ribble, that might have been held by a hand- 
ful of men, and from the bridge to the town, for a 
distance of a mile, the road ran through a hollow 
between steep banks for a mile. But river, bridge, and 
road were all left undefended. When Wills rode up 
to the bridge and saw that it was unprotected he could 
hardly believe his eyes ; and then he concluded that 
the insurgents must have abandoned Preston and begun 
their retreat into Scotland, so that there would be no 
fighting that day. 

But as he came to the outskirts of the town, he heard 
a tumultuous noise within, and saw the barricades that 
Forster had thrown up, and was saluted by a shower 
of bullets. He ordered his dragoons to dismount and 
attack two of the barricades. This service was gallantly 
performed ; but the regulars were sorely galled by a fire 
from the houses as well as from the barricades. 

As night was falling Wills withdrew his men, after 
they had suffered considerable loss. Early on the 
following morning General Carpenter came up with a 
part of his cavalry ; and then Forster, who had 
scarcely lost a man, and whose force more than doubled 
that of the regular troops, lost heart entirely, and with- 
out consulting his friends, sent Colonel Oxburgh to 
propose a capitulation. 

General Wills, irritated at the loss he had sustained 
on the preceding evening, seemed at first disposed to 
reject the proposition altogether ; but at last he agreed 
"that, if the rebels would lay down their arms and 
surrender at discretion, he would protect them from 
being cut to pieces by the soldiers, until further orders 
from the Government." 



SIR CHARLES WILLS, K.B. 15 

When Oxburgh's mission was known in the town, 
and the result of it, the more warlike portion of the 
insurgents were indignant and railed against the coward 
Forster ; and so incensed were they against him that, 
according to an eye-witness, if he had ventured into 
the street, he would infallibly have been torn to 
pieces. 

The brave Highlanders, seeing that nothing was to 
be expected from the Lancastrian boors who had joined 
them, proposed rushing with sword in hand and cutting 
their way through the King's troops. But their leaders 
thought this too hazardous a proceeding and counselled 
surrender. They gave up Lord Derwentwater and 
Colonel Mackintosh as hostages, and induced the clans 
to lay down their arms and submit. Including English 
and Scotch, only seventeen men had been killed in the 
defence of Preston. 

The Lancastrian peasants got away out of the town, 
but fourteen hundred men were made prisoners by a 
thousand, or at the outside twelve hundred English 
horse. Among those captured were Lords Derwent- 
water, Widdrington, Nithsdale, Winton, Carnwark, 
Kenmure, Nairn, and Charles Murray. There were 
others, members of ancient and honourable families of 
the north, of Scotland, and of Lancashire. 

The invasion of England by the Jacobites had thus 
ended ingloriously. The noblemen and gentlemen of 
rank and influence who were taken were sent to London 
in charge of Brigadier Panter and a hundred men of 
Lumley's Horse. 

On January 5th, 17 16, Wills was appointed to the 
colonelcy of the 3rd Regiment of the line, and on the 
death of Lord Cadogan was transferred in August, 
1726, to that of the ist Regiment of Foot Guards. 

It was customary at all times for the King's com- 



i6 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

pany of the ist Guards to fly the Royal Standard, 
which was carried by that company on all state occa- 
sions. It was of crimson silk throughout, with the 
King's cypher and crown in the middle and the arms 
of the three kingdoms quartered in the four corners. 
The staff of this standard was also more ornamented 
than that of the other twenty-seven companies. The 
lieutenant-colonel's colours were also of crimson silk 
throughout. These colours were renewed every seven 
years. 

In 1723 the King went to Hanover, when a camp 
was formed in Hyde Park under the command of 
Lieut. -Colonel Wills. He had been elected M.P. for 
Totnes in 17 14, and he represented that borough till 
1741. In 1725 he was made Knight of the Bath and 
Privy Councillor. 

In i733> in consequence of the increase of smuggling 
carried on even in London, Strickland, Secretary for 
War, addressed a letter in the form of a warrant to the 
Governor of the Tower and to the officers in command 
of the Guards, authorizing them to furnish detachments 
of men to assist in securing contraband goods ; and 
in consequence of the increase of the duties to be per- 
formed by the men of the Foot Guards, their establish- 
ment was raised in 1739 by ten men per company. 

In 1740, as the political horizon on the Continent 
was threatening, Walpole had to choose between de- 
claring war with Spain and resigning. He disapproved 
of war, but rather than resign declared it. The people 
of London were delighted and rang the bells in the 
steeples. "Ah!" said Walpole; "they are ringing 
the bells now ; they soon will be wringing their hands." 
Camps, in anticipation of hostilities, were ordered to 
be formed in various parts of England. In March 
orders were conveyed to Sir Charles Wills and others 



SIR CHARLES WILLS, K.B. 17 

to direct their officers to provide themselves with tents 
and everything needful for encamping, and those troops 
under Sir Charles were to occupy Hounslow. He 
superintended the formation of the camp where the 
whole of the Horse and Foot Guards were to assemble, 
and previous to departing they paraded in Hyde Park, 
on June 15th, under Sir Charles, who had a lieutenant- 
general and a major-general on the staff with him. 
Thence he proceeded to the encampment on the Heath 
marked out for the purpose. 

The twenty-four companies of the ist Guards under 
the command of Colonel Richard Ingoldsby, second 
major of the regiment, remained encamped on Houns- 
low from June i6th for several months — in fact, till the 
middle of October. 

Sir Charles Wills was now filling the post of General 
Commander of the King's forces, but had been failing 
in health and strength, and soon became quite unable 
to take any active work ; and he died on December 25th, 
Christmas Day, 1741, and was buried in Westminster 
Abbey. 

He had never been married. He had purchased land 
at Claxton, and this and all he had he bequeathed to 
Field-Marshal Sir Robert Rich, Bart., of Roxhill, in 
Suffolk, Governor of Chelsea Hospital. 



LIEUTENANT GOLDSMITH AND THE 
LOGAN ROCK 

IN the parish of S. Levari is a promontory running 
out into the sea, once cut off by embankments 
on the land side, and converted into a cliff castle, 
that bears the name of Trereen-Dinas. The 
headland presents a succession of natural piles of 
granite tors, the first of which, rising perpendicularly, 
is crowned by the far-famed Logan Rock, a mass weigh- 
ing about ninety tons, and so exactly poised upon one 
point that any one, by applying his shoulder to it, 
could make the whole mass rock sensibly. Not only 
so, but in a high wind it could be seen rolling on its 
pivot. 

Doctor Borlase, in his Antiquities of Cornwall, 1754, 
says: "In the parish of S. Levan, Cornwall, there is 
a promontory called Castle Treryn. This cape con- 
sists of three distinct groupes of rocks. On the 
western side of the middle groupe, near the top, lies 
a very large stone, so evenly poised, that any hand may 
move it to and fro ; but the extremities of its base are 
at such a distance from each other, and so well secured 
by their nearness to the stone which it stretches itself 
upon, that it is morally impossible that any lever, or 
indeed force (however applied in a mechanical way), 
can remove it from its present situation." 

This overbold statement, added to the persistence of 
the people of the neighbourhood, that no man could 

18 



GOLDSMITH AND THE LOGAN ROCK 19 

throw the Logan Rock from its balance, stirred up 
a silly young lieutenant, Hugh Colvill Goldsmith, of 
H.M.S. cutter Nimble, on the preventive service, lying 
off the Land's End on the look-out for smugglers, to 
attempt to do what the popular voice declared to be 
impossible. Lieut. Goldsmith was a nephew of the 
famous Oliver Goldsmith, and had consequently some 
flighty Irish blood in his veins. 

" On April 8, 1824," says the Gentleman's Magazine, 
"a party of sailors belonging to H.M. cutter Nimble, 
commanded by Lieut. Goldsmith, came on shore 
for the purpose of removing from its situation that 
great curiosity the Logging (rocking) Stone ; and 
which object they were unfortunately enabled to accom- 
plish. This mass of granite, which is nearly 100 
tons weight, was one of the three objects that excited 
the curiosity of every visitor to the west part of Corn- 
wall. It stood on the summit of a mass of rocks at the 
Land's End, and was so poised on a natural pivot, that 
the force which a man could exert was sufficient to 
cause it to vibrate. In this situation it remained from 
a period anterior to our authentic records, as it is 
noticed by our earliest writers, until the barbarian 
above mentioned, in sheer wantonness, removed it 
from its place. This act of vandalism has excited the 
greatest indignation at Penzance, as it will in every 
part of Cornwall, and throughout the kingdom. It 
appears that Lieut. Goldsmith landed at the head 
of fourteen of his men, and with the assistance of hand- 
spikes and a handscrew, called by the sailors jack-in- 
the-box, with much labour and perseverance threw 
over the stone. What renders the act most atrocious 
is, that two poor families, who derived a subsistence 
from attending visitors to the stone, are now deprived 
of the means of support." 



20 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

It was found that the handspikes and jack were of no 
avail. Accordingly Goldsmith made his fourteen men 
put their shoulders to the stone and bring it into such 
violent oscillation that at last it toppled over. 

The Logan Stone, thus displaced, would have rolled 
down from the tor on which it had rested and have shot 
into the sea, had it not happily been arrested by a cleft 
in the rock. 

The indignation of the people was great, so that the 
life of Lieut. Goldsmith was threatened by the sturdy 
fishermen, should he land. But the desire to land 
was taken from him, for the whole £ounty was roused, 
and a gathering of the magistrates was summoned to 
consider what could be done, and to memorialize the 
Admiralty against the perpetrator of this wanton act 
of mischief. 

Happily Mr, Davies Gilbert was at the time in 
London, and he at once proceeded to the Admiralty 
and complained of the vandalism perpetrated, and re- 
quested that the lieutenant should be ordered to re- 
place the block as found, and that the proper apparatus, 
capstan, blocks, chains, etc., should be furnished by 
the dockyard at Devonport. 

This was undertaken, and orders were despatched to 
Lieut. Goldsmith that he must either restore the Logan 
Rock to its old position, at his own cost, or forfeit his 
commission. As the expense would be wholly beyond 
his means, Mr. Davies Gilbert very liberally subscribed 
;i^i5o for the purpose. 

A writer, Lieut. L. Edye, in the Western Anti- 
quary iov 1887, says: "In his trouble he appealed to 
my grandfather (Mr. William Edye) for advice and 
assistance, stating that the Admiralty had called upon 
him either to replace the stone or forfeit his commis- 
sion. My grandfather, ever ready to render assist- 



GOLDSMITH AND THE LOGAN ROCK 2i 

ance to any one in trouble, readily assisted, and having 
travelled into Cornwall (as a friend) and seen the 
damage done, applied to the Admiralty for the loan 
of plant and men. Their Lordships complied with the 
request, but stipulated that the cost must be entirely 
defrayed by Lieut. Goldsmith." 

We will now see what Goldsmith had to say for 
hiffiself. The following is an extract from a letter 
written by him to his mother, dated April 24th, 
1824 : — 

"The facts in question, my dear mother, are these: 
On the 8th of this month we were off the Land's End, 
near the spot where the Rock stood. Our boats were 
creeping along shore beneath it for some goods which, 
we suspected, might be sunk in the sands near it. I 
took the opportunity of landing to look at the Logan 
Rock with my mate ; and hearing that it was not in 
the power of men to remove it, I took it into my head 
to try my skill, and, at this time (half-past four o'clock 
p.m.), the boats having finished what they had to do, 
and it blowing too fresh for them to creep any longer, 
I took them and their crew with me, and, having landed 
at the foot of the rocks, we all scrambled up the preci- 
pice. We had with us, at first, three handspikes, with 
which we tried to move the Rock, but could not do it. " 
By move the rock he really means — displace it. A 
child could move it on its pivot. "The handspikes 
were then laid aside, and the nine men who were with 
me took hold of the Rock by the edge, and with great 
difficulty set it in a rocking motion, which became so 
great, that I was fearful of bidding them try to stop it 
lest it should fall back upon us, and away it went un- 
fortunately, clean over upon its side, where it now 
rests. There was not an instrument of any kind or 
description near the Rock when thrown over, except 



22 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

one handspike, and that I held in my hand, but which 
was of no use in upsetting the Rock ; and this is the 
truth, and nothing but the truth, as I hope for salva- 
tion. 

"For my part, I had no intention, or the most 
distant thought, of doing mischief, even had I thrown 
the Rock into the sea. I was innocently, as my God 
knows, employed, as far as any bad design about me. 
I knew not that the Rock was so idolized in this neigh- 
bourhood, and you may imagine my astonishment 
when I found all Penzance in an uproar. I was to be 
transported at least ; the newspapers have traduced me, 
and made me worse than a murderer, and the base 
falsehoods in them are more than wicked. But here I 
am, my dear mother, still holding up my head, boldly 
conscious of having only committed an act of inad- 
vertency. Be not uneasy^ — my character is yet safe ; 
and you have nothing on that score to make you 
uneasy. I have many friends in Penzance : among 
them the persons most interested in the Rock, and 
many who were most violent now see the thing in its 
true light. I intend putting the bauble in its place 
again, and hope to get as much credit as I have anger 
for throwing it down."^ 

The letter is disingenuous, and is the composition 
of a man impudent and conceited. He knew the 
estimation in which the Logan Rock was held, and it 
was because Borlase had pronounced it impossible of 
displacement that he resolved to displace it. He pre- 
tends that he tried to "move" it, whereas from the 
context it is clear that he intended to throw it down, 
and for this purpose had brought the handspikes. He 
boasts vaingloriously of his intention of replacing it 
and gaining glory thereby, and never says a word 

' The letter is given in Household Words, 1852, p. 234. 



GOLDSMITH AND THE LOGAN ROCK 23 

about his having been given by the Admiralty the 
alternative of doing that or losing his commission. 
Nor does he mention the generous help he received from 
Mr. Gilbert and his kinsman Mr. Edye. 

On November and, in the presence of vast crowds, 
ladies waving their handkerchiefs, and men firing feux 
de joie, the block was raised, Mr. Goldsmith, his 
natural conceit overcoming his sense of vexation, 
superintending the operation. But, although replaced, 
it was no longer so perfectly balanced as before. As 
one wrote who was present at the time, "it rocked 
differently, though well enough to satisfy the people." 

An account of the feat, written in the true style of 
the penny-a-liner, appeared in the Royal Cornwall 
Gazette of the 6th November : — 

"The Logan Rock is in its place, and logs again. 
Lieut. Goldsmith has nobly repaired the error of a 
moment by a long trial of skill and energy and 
courage. I say courage, for it was a work of great 
peril ; and wherever danger was, there he was always 
foremost — under the weight of the mass of machinery, 
and on the edge of the precipice. ... I shall content 
myself with barely observing, as a proof of the skill 
of applying the complicated machinery employed, that 
many engineers had their doubts whether it could be so 
applied, and even when erected, they doubted whether 
it would be efficient. 

"The moment, therefore (on Friday last), when the 
men took their stations at the capstans was an anxious 
one, and when, after twenty minutes' toil, Lieut. 
Goldsmith announced from the stage, ' It moves, thank 
God ! ' a shout of applause burst from all who beheld 
it. Endeavour to conceive a group of rocks of the 
most grand and romantic appearance, forming an 
amphitheatre, with multitudes seated on the irregular 



24 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

masses, or clinging to its precipices : conceive a huge 
platform carried across an abyss from rock to rock, and 
upon it three capstans manned by British seamen. 
Imagine the lofty masts which are seen rearing their 
heads, from which ropes are connected with chains in 
many a fold and of massive strength, A flag waves 
over all : the huge stone is in the midst. Every eye 
is directed to the monstrous bulk. Will it break its 
chains? Will it fall and spread ruin? Or will it defy 
the power that attempts to stir it ? Will all the skill 
and energy, and strength and hardihood, have been 
exerted in vain? We shall soon know: expectation 
sits breathless ; and at last it moves. 

"All's well. Such was the first half-hour. In two 
hours it was suspended in the air, and vibrated ; 
but art was triumphant, and held the huge leviathan 
fast. 

"I will not detail the labour of two successive days ; 
but come to the last moment. At twenty minutes past 
four on Tuesday afternoon a signal was given that the 
rock was in its place and that it logged again. This 
was announced by a spectator. But where was Lieut. 
Goldsmith? Why does not he announce it? He has 
called his men around him : his own and their hats are 
off: he is addressing them first, and calling upon them 
to return thanks to God, through whose aid alone 
the work had been done — a work of great peril and 
hazard — and by His blessing without loss of life or 
limb. 

" After this appropriate and solemn act, he called 
upon them to join in the British sailors' testimony of joy, 
three cheers ; and then turned with all his gallant men 
to receive the re-echoing cheers of the assembled multi- 
tude. That Lieut. Goldsmith, whose character— like 
the rock— is replaced on a firm basis, may have an 



GOLDSMITH AND THE LOGAN ROCK 25 

opportunity of exerting his great talents and brave 
spirit in the service of his profession, is the sincere 
wish of all this neighbourhood." 

Lieut. L. Edye, in his communication to the Western 
Antiquary above quoted, says: "The result of this 
foolhardy act was that Lieut. Goldsmith was pecuniarily 
ruined, whilst the natives of the locality reaped a rich 
harvest by pointing out the fallen stone to visitors." 

The Cornish are a forgiving people, and it was 
actually proposed after the re-erection of the stone to 
give to Lieut. Goldsmith a dinner and a silver cup. 

Lieut. Hugh Colvill Goldsmith had been born at 
St. Andrew's, New Brunswick, 2nd April, 1789, so 
that he was aged thirty-five when he performed this 
prank. He died at sea off S. Thomas, in the West 
Indies, 8th October, 1841, without having obtained 
advancement. 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 

THE life and character of this man present 
unusual difficulties. On one side he was 
unduly lauded, he was represented, es- 
pecially by himself, as a paragon of all 
virtues ; on the other he was decried with virulence, 
his past life raked over, and every scandal brought to 
the surface and exposed to public view, and we cannot 
be at all sure that all these scandals laid to his charge 
were true. 

We do not know much about his origin, and why he 
was named Peters ; he was the son of a Thomas Dick- 
wood, alias Peters, and Martha, daughter of John 
Treffry of Treffry. This Dickwood, alias Peters, is 
said to have been a merchant of Fowey, descended 
from Dutch ancestors who had escaped from Antwerp 
for their adherence to the Reformed religion ; and 
Hugh Peters was born in 1599. But Dickwood is 
not a Flemish or Dutch name. Henry Peters, M.P. 
for Fowey, who died in 1619, married Deborah, 
daughter of John Treffry of Place, in 1610, and had 
one son, Thomas, who was thrown into prison by 
Cromwell for his loyalty to King Charles. Neither 
Hugh Peters nor his father with the alias appears 
in the well-authenticated pedigree of the family of 
Peters of Harlyn. It may be suspected that the father 
of Hugh Peters was a bastard of one of the Peters 
family. 

Be that as it may, Hugh Peters was sent to Trinity 

26 




HUGH PETERS 

I-rovt an 0/1/ i'>ie7a7'i>i!^ 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 27 
College, Cambridge, at the age of fourteen— his elder 
brother at the time was a student at Oxford— and he 
took his degree of B.A. in 1616. For a time he led a 
rather wild life and joined a party of comedians. 
Dr. William Yonge says that "he joined a common 
society of players : when, after venting his frothy in- 
ventions, he had a greater call to a higher promotion, 
namely, to be a jester, or rather a fool, in Shakespeare's 
Company of Players." Shakespeare died in 1616, so 
this must have been his company continuing to bear 
his name. He, however, became converted by a ser- 
mon he heard at S. Faith's, and "deserted his com- 
panions and employments, and returning to his 
chamber near Fleet Conduit, continued between hope 
and despair a year or more. " 

He was ordained deacon 23rd December, 1621, and 
priest 8th June, 1623, by Mountain, Bishop of London, 
and took his M.A. degree in 1622. He was licensed 
to preach at S. Sepulchre's. He says of himself : — 

"To Sepulchre's I was brought by a very strange 
providence ; for preaching before at another place, and 
a young man receiving some good, would not be satis- 
fied, but I must preach at Sepulchre's, once monthly, 
for the good of his friends, in which he got his end 
(if I might not show vanity), and he allowed thirty 
pounds per ann. to that lecture, but his person un- 
known to me. He was a chandler, and died a good 
man, and Member of Parliament. At this lecture the 
resort grew so great, that it contracted envy and anger ; 
though I believe above a hundred every week were 
persuaded from sin to Christ ; there were six or seven 
thousand hearers, and the circumstances fit for such 
good work." 

How six or seven thousand persons could be got 
into St. Sepulchre's Church passes one's comprehen- 



28 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

sion. According to his own account, he got into 
trouble through Nonconformity. Ludlow, in his 
Memoirs, says that Peters "had been a minister in 
England for many years, till he was forced to leave his 
native country by the persecution set on foot, in the 
time of Archbishop Laud, against all those who re- 
fused to comply with the innovations and super- 
stitions which were then introduced into the public 
worship." 

There is, however, another and less creditable 
explanation. He is said to have become entangled in 
an intrigue with a butcher's wife. But how far this is 
true, and whether it be malicious scandal, we have no 
means of judging. 

He had, however, married the widow of Edmund 
Read, of Wickford, Essex, and mother of Colonel 
Thomas Read, afterwards Governor of Stirling, and a 
partisan of Monk at the Restoration. Mrs. Edmund 
Read also had a daughter, Elizabeth, who in 1635 
married the younger Winthrop, Governor of Connec- 
ticut. 

From London Peters went to Rotterdam, where, if 
Yonge may be trusted, he paid such court to and 
attempted such familiarities with a Mrs. Franklyn, that 
she complained to her husband, whereupon Mr. Frank- 
lyn "entertains Peters with crab-tree sauce." 

At Rotterdam he became preacher in the English 
chapel. What had become of his wife, whether she 
remained in England or accompanied him to Holland, 
we are not informed. 

It will be well here to say a few words on the condi- 
tion of religion in England at the time. 

The plan of Henry VIII had been to make the 
Church of England independent of the Pope, but to 
remain Catholic. At his death the Protector and the 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 29 

Duke of Northumberland, after the fall of Somerset, 
had encouraged the ultra-Protestants. The churches 
had been plundered, chantries and colleges robbed, the 
Mass interdicted, and the wildest fanaticism encouraged. 
As Froude says: "Three-quarters of the English 
people were Catholics ; that is, they were attached to 
the hereditary and traditionary doctrines of the Church. 
They detested, as cordially as the Protestants, the 
interference of a foreign power, whether secular or 
spiritual, with English liberty." 

A more disgraceful page of history has never been 
written than that regarding the two protectorates during 
the minority of Edward VI. The currency was de- 
based, peculation was rife. "Amidst the wreck of 
ancient institutions," says Froude, "the misery of the 
people, and the moral and social anarchy by which the 
nation was disintegrated, thoughtful persons in England 
could not fail to be asking themselves what they had 
gained by the Reformation. 

" The movement commenced by Henry VIII, judged 
by its present results, had brought the country at last 
into the hands of mere adventurers. The people had 
exchanged a superstition which, in its grossest abuses, 
prescribed some shadow of respect for obedience, for 
a superstition which merged obedience in speculative 
belief; and under that baneful influence, not only the 
higher virtues of self-sacrifice, but the commonest 
duties of probity and morality, were disappearing. 
Private life was infected with impurity to which the 
licentiousness of the Catholic clergy appeared like 
innocence. The Government was corrupt, the courts of 
law were venal. The trading classes cared only to 
grow rich. The multitude were mutineers from oppres- 
sion. . . . The better order of commonplace men, who 
had a conscience, but no special depth of insight — 



30 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

who had small sense of spiritual things, but a strong 
perception of human rascality — looked on in a stern and 
growing indignation, and, judging the tree by its fruits, 
waited their opportunity for action." 

When Mary came to the throne there was an 
immense outburst of enthusiasm, the time of the Protes- 
tant protectorates was looked back on as a bad dream. 
In spite of the fact that England was under an interdict, 
the Mass was restored, and no rector or vicar cared 
a straw for the Papal bull, nor indeed did Mary, who 
heard Mass in the chapel of the Tower, and afterwards 
in S. Paul's. 

If Mary had only accepted the advice tendered to her 
by Charles V, she would have reigned as a popular 
monarch, and have settled the condition of the Church 
of England on lines that commended themselves to 
nobles, commons, and clergy alike. Catholic but not 
Papal. But she had looked too long to the see of Peter 
as her support, and she managed completely to alienate 
the affections of her people. The fires of Smithfield 
brought the fanatics who had been discredited in the 
former reign into favour once more ; and when Eliza- 
beth came to the throne, and had been deposed by Pope 
Pius V, and her subjects released from allegiance to 
her, and plots formed for her assassination, under favour 
of the Pope, the religious sentiment in England was cleft 
as with a hatchet — some who loved the religion of their 
fathers were constrained against their will and con- 
sciences to become Papists, and others became wild and. 
reckless fanatics in a Puritan direction. Between these 
two parties sat the vast bulk of the English people, 
looking this way, that way, and deeming all religion 
foolishness, and self-interest the only thing to be sought 
after. All the foundations of the religious world were 
out of course. The via media is all very well in theory 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 31 

id when well trodden, but when it is experimental, 
id one road to the right leads to Rome and that to 
e left to Geneva, the via media may be taken to lead 
>where, and those who tread it have to do so uncer- 
inly. A session between two stools is precarious, 
id the Church of England had been forced by the 
lly of Mary to adopt this position. The consequence 
as that in the reigns of Elizabeth and James and 
harles I there was no enthusiasm in the clergy of the 
hurch. The bishops were grasping, self-seeking 
arldlings. Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canter- 
iry, was the best among an ignoble crew. When he 
ed, says Froude, "he left behind him enormous 
ealth, which had been accumulated, as is proved from 
statement in the handwriting of his successor, by the 
me unscrupulous practices which had brought about 
e first revolt against the Church. No Catholic 
elate in the old easy times had so flagrantly abused 
e dispensation system. Every year he made profits 
r admitting children to the cure of souls, for money, 
e used a graduated scale in which the price for induct- 
g an infant into a benefice varied with the age, children 
ider fourteen not being inadmissible, if the adequate 
Bs were forthcoming."^ 

The great majority of the nobility and gentry of 
Qgland clung to the doctrine and ceremonies of the 
icient Church, and yet were united in determination 
oppose the Papal claims. Benefices in their presen- 
tion were held by priests who said the Communion 
srvice, which was but the Mass in English, with the 
cient vestments and ritual ; and others, next door, 
!re held by men who could hardly be compelled to 
;ar even the surplice, and who celebrated the Eucha- 
it but once in the year. 

' Froude, Hist, of England, X, p. 410. 



32 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

The Church was a hodgepodge of conflicting doctrines 
and ceremonial. As Froude says : — 

" So long as a single turn of the wheel, a violent 
revolution, or the Queen's death, might place a Catholic 
(Papist) on the throne, the Established Church held a 
merely conditional existence. It had no root in the 
nation, for every earnest man who was not a Puritan 
was a Catholic ; and its officers, for the most part, 
regarded their tenures as an opportunity for enriching 
themselves, which would probably be short, and should 
in prudence be made use of while it remained. Bene- 
fices were appropriated to laymen, sold, or accumulated 
upon favourites. Churches in many places were left 
unserved, and cobblers and tailors were voted by the 
congregations into the pulpits. ' The bishops,' said 
Cecil, ' had no credit either for learning, good living, 
or hospitality.' The Archbishop of York had scandal- 
ized his province by being found in bed with the wife 
of an innkeeper at Doncaster. Other prelates had 
bestowed ordination 'on men of lewd life and corrupt 
behaviour.' The Bishop of Lichfield had made seventy 
'lewd and unlearned ministers, for money,' in one 
day.i 

Bishop Barlow, of S. David's, had torn the lead roof 
off his palace and the castle at Lawhadden to provide 
dowers for his daughters, and would have unroofed his 
cathedral had he not been prevented by Elizabeth, be- 
cause in it was the monument of Edmund, Earl of 
Richmond, the father of Henry VII. When translated 
to Bath and Wells he destroyed the lady chapel, the 
finest Perpendicular building in the West of England, 
surpassing even Sherborne and Bath, and sold it — lead, 
roof, stones, and all. Some of the clergy were mere 
temporizers, without convictions, taking their colour 
1 Ibid., XI, 471-2. 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 33 

n their patrons, and ready to believe or pretend to 
ieve this or that, as suited their pockets. The 
jority were indifferent— ignorant— not knowing 
ere they stood. Many had thrust their way into 
ly Orders for the sake of the loaves and fishes that 
yht be obtained in the Established Church, with no 
rk to do, without education, without zeal, without 
ivictions, and consequently totally without the least 
husiasm, without any fixed principles. 
-,aud and the Star Chamber sought to produce con- 
mity by cutting off ears and slitting noses. But 
at Laud failed to see was that the only men in reli- 
us England who knew their minds, who had any 
;d principles in religion, were the Papists and the 
ritans. What they should have done, but what 
ibably they could not do, was to inspire the clergy of 

Church with zeal and enthusiasm. But the clergy 
lid not catch the fire from off the altar ; they had 
ered Orders for the sake of a rectory, a glebe and 
le, and cared for nothing else. If one half — nay, 
; quarter — of the charges brought against them by 

Tryers be true, they were a most unworthy set. In 
zabeth's reign there had been a difficulty in filling 

benefices, and any Jack and Tom who could gratify 

bishop and could read was ordained and appointed 
1 benefice. And these were the men to maintain the 
;trine of the Universal Church and Apostolic tradi- 
1 against fiery enthusiasts on one side who took 
ir own reading of Scripture for divine inspiration, 
i on the other against the Papists who set their back 
linst the Rock of Peter. 

With churches picked bare, with sermons without fire, 
vices performed without dignity, often with inde- 
um, without religious instruction from teachers who 
[ not know what to teach, it is no wonder that the 

D 



34 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

people turned away to hot-gospellers and tub-thumpers 
who, if they could not kindle in them love and charity, 
could set them on lire with self-righteousness and reli- 
gious animosities. 

At Rotterdam Peters threw over creed and liturgy 
of the Church of England, and leaving the English 
chapel, became co-pastor with Dr, William Ames of an 
Independent meeting-house at Rotterdam, and Ames 
died there in his arms. In Holland Peters made the 
acquaintance of John Forbes, Professor of Divinity in 
the University of Aberdeen, a great Hebraist. In 
a pamphlet published by Peters in 1646 he says : 
" I lived about six years near that famous Scotsman, 
Mr. John Forbes, with whom I travelled into Germany, 
and enjoyed his society in much love and sweetness 
constantly ; from whom I received nothing but en- 
couragement, though we differed in the way of our 
'churches.' " 

After Peters had spent six years in the United Pro- 
vinces, he suddenly threw up his pastoral charge and 
departed for New England, with five hundred pounds 
in his pocket, which his friends furnished, and a young 
waiting-maid, Mary Morell, whom he shortly after 
married to one Peter Folger. 

" In this year (1635)," says one account, " came over 
that famous servant of Christ, Mr. Hugh Peters. He 
was called to office by the Church of Christ at Salem, 
their former pastor, the Rev. Mr. Higginson, having 
ended his labours resting in the Lord." 

Salem had been planted but a few years before, the 
first colonists in Massachusetts having settled there in 
1628. Here he remained for over seven years, com- 
bining his duties as a minister of religion and trading, 
so that he was spoken of as " the father of our com- 
merce and the founder of our trade." 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 35 

le was also a militant Christian, and was present in 
fighting against the Pequot Indians. Concerning 
prisoners taken, Hugh Peters wrote : — 

' Sir, — Mr. Endicott and myself salute you in the 
rd Jesus, etc. [sic]. We have heard of a division- 
of women and children in the Bay, and would be 
d of a share, viz. a young woman or girl, and a boy 
'ou think good. I wrote to you for some boys to 

" Hugh Peters." 

'hese prisoners were used as slaves, and sold just 
were the negroes later. Peters, we are informed, 
J not friendly to the notion of converting the 
lians to Christianity. He would entertain compunc- 
1 about enslaving them should they embrace the 
ipel. However, money was sent over from England 
this purpose, and — at the suggestion of Peters, 
the Colonial State Papers (Saintsbury, America and 
;st Indies, 1661-8, p. 86), is this passage: "Through 
motion of Hugh Peters, England contributed nine 
idred pounds per annum to Christianize the Indians 
New England ; which money found its way into 
rate men's purses, and was a cheat of Hugh 
ers." 

n New England Peters married a second wife, 
1639, another widow, by name Deliverance Shef- 
1. 

n 1641 he left for England, deputed by the colony 
act as ambassador at the Court of Charles I, to 
eavour to procure some mitigation of the excise 

customs duties, which weighed heavily on the 
)nists. 
lut on reaching England he found that the Crown 

the Parliament were at variance, and he did not 
; to return to America and to his wife whom he had 



36 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

left there, but elected to be the stormy petrel of the 
rebellion, flying over the land, and, as Ludlow says, 
advising the people everywhere to take arms in the 
cause of the Parliament. 

He was appointed chaplain to a brigade of troops 
sent into Ireland against the rebels, and he had no 
hesitation in wielding the sword as well as the tongue, 
the latter to animate the soldiers, the former to extir- 
pate the Baal-worshippers. 

Then he hastened to Holland, where he collected 
thirty thousand pounds for the relief of the Protestants 
of Ireland,! y^jjo had been plundered and burnt out of 
their homes by the rebels. 

When Peters had effected his various purposes in 
Ireland, he returned to England, and made his report 
of the condition of affairs there to Sir Thomas Fairfax 
and Cromwell. 

In 1643 he was appointed, or thrust himself forward, 
to minister to Chaloner on the scaffold, as that man 
had been condemned to death for participation in 
Waller's plot. So again in 1644 he was on the scaf- 
fold haranguing and praying for and at Sir John 
Hotham, who probably would have preferred to die in 
quiet. 

Peters was now engaged as chaplain to the Parlia- 
mentary forces, and especially as a conveyer of 
despatches, for all which he received liberal payment. 
He was with the Earl of Warwick at the taking of 
Lyme, and was despatched by that nobleman to 
London to give an account of the affair in Parlia- 
ment. On another occasion he was entrusted with 
letters from Sir Thomas Fairfax relating to the capture 
of Bridgwater, on which occasion he was voted 

' We have only Peters' own word for this sum. It was probably much 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 37 

sum of ;^ioo. In the same year, 1645, he was 
nmissioned by Sir Thomas to report the taking 
Bristol. In March of that year Hugh Peters was 
th the army in Cornwall, and harangued at Bodmin 
ainst the Crown and the Church, and exhorted all 
od men and true to adhere to the cause of the Parlia- 
!nt. 

Peters had uniformly, since he had been in the 
w Countries, postured as an Independent hot and 
ong. Hitherto the Presbyterians had the prevailing 
rty in Parliament, and among the discontents in the 
intry, but now the Independents began to assert 
;mselves and assume predominance. Their numbers 
re greatly increased by the return of the more fiery 
irits who had, like Peters, abandoned England 
ring the supremacy of Laud. Many of these, coming 
ck from New England, had carried the doctrines of 
iritanism to the very verge of extravagance, and not 
; least fiery and extravagant of these was Hugh 
ters. These men rejected all ecclesiastical establish- 
:nts, would admit of no spiritual authority in one 
.n above another, and allowed of no interposition of 
! magistrate in religious matters. Each congrega- 
n, voluntarily united, was an integral and indepen- 
it church, to exercise its own jurisdiction. The 
litical system of the Independents was one of pure 
mblicanism. They aspired to a total abolition of 
inarchy, even of the aristocracy, and projected a 
nmonwealth in which all men should be equal. 
• Harry Vane, Oliver Cromwell, Nathaniel Fiennes, 
i Oliver St. John, the Solicitor-General, were re- 
rded as their leaders, and Hugh Peters as their 
)phet. 

Peters brought the news to Parliament of the capture 
Winchester Castle, for which service he was paid 



38 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

£50. When Dartmouth was taken, he hastened thence 
to London, laden with crucifixes, vestments, papers, and 
sundry church ornaments, of which he had despoiled 
the beautiful church of S. Saviour's ; and received 
in recompense from the Parliament an estate of which 
the House had deprived Lord Craven. 

When the city of Worcester was besieged in the 
year 1646 by the Parliamentary forces, the governor 
consented to surrender on condition that passes were 
given to the soldiers and to the principal inhabitants. 
Peters negotiated the surrender. 

A Mr. Habingdon, who wrote an account of the siege 
at the time, and who died in the ensuing year, relates 
that on the 23rd July, 1646, many gentlemen went to 
six o'clock prayers at the cathedral to take the last sad 
farewell of the church services, the organs having 
been removed three days before, and that at ten o'clock 
in the morning the several regiments marched forth, 
and all the gentlemen with the baggage ; and that at 
one o'clock Peters brought them their passes, and im- 
portuned every one individually to pass his word not 
again to bear arms against the Parliament. 

Hugh Peters was now such a favourite with the 
Parliament that they made an order for ;^ioo a year to 
himself and his heirs for ever ; later an additional 
;£"20o per annum was voted to him, and all this in addi- 
tion to his pay as preacher, and to sundry grants as 
bearer of news from the army. He was also ac- 
corded Archbishop Laud's library. Nevertheless, as 
he lamented in his Legacy of a Dying Father, he found 
it impossible to keep out of debt. 

There is this in Peters' favour to be urged, that he 
opposed the execution of Archbishop Laud, and urged 
that instead he should be sent to New England. So 
he begged the life of Lord George Goring, Earl of 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 39 

>rwich, and of the Marquis of Hamilton, and again 
the Marquis of Worcester. 

The Presbyterians were in force in the House of 
)mmons, but the army was composed mainly of In- 
pendents, worked up to enthusiasm by their preachers, 
had been six months in the field in the summer of 
48, engaged against the Cavaliers and Scots. The 
Idiers were thoroughly incensed against the King, 
id they had no respect for the Presbyterians. Their 
ficers resolved on assuming the sovereign power in 
eir own hands, and bringing the King to justice, and 
inverting the Government into a commonwealth. 
To accomplish this they presented a remonstrance to 
e Parliament by six of their council on November 
)th, demanding: (i) that the King be brought to trial 
r high treason ; (2) that a day be set for the Prince 
■ Wales and the Duke of York to surrender them- 
Ives, or to be declared incapable of government, and 
at in future no king should be admitted but by the 
ee election of the people. 

The Commons were struck with dismay, and deferred 
!bate on the remonstrance for ten days. But the 
ficers despatched Colonel Ewes to the Isle of Wight 
ith a party of horse to secure the King's person, and 
bring him to Windsor, in order to his trial. The 
ficers then, on November 30th, sent a declaration to 
le House to enforce their late remonstrance, and re- 
airing the majority in the House to exclude from 
leir councils such as would obstruct the King's trial. 
On December 2nd Fairfax arrived in London at the 
3ad of the army, and the House of Commons found 
self cornered by the armed force. Nevertheless, they 
id the courage to vote that the seizure of the King, 
ud the conveying him a prisoner to Hurst Castle, had 
een done without their advice and consent. 



40 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

The officers were resolved to carry their point. A 
regiment of horse and another of foot were placed at 
the door of the Parliament House, and Colonel Pride 
entered and took into custody about forty of the mem- 
bers who were disposed to obstruct the cause the army 
sought to pursue, and denied entrance to about a hun- 
dred more ; others were ordered to leave ; and the num- 
ber of those present was thus thinned down to a 
hundred and fifty or two hundred, most of them officers 
of the army. 

The secluded members published a protestation 
against all these proceedings as null and void till they 
were restored to their places; but the Lords and 
Commons who remained in the House voted their 
protestation false, scandalous, and seditious. 

The army, having vanquished all opposition, went 
on to change the whole form of government ; and to 
make way for it determined to impeach the King of 
high treason, as having been the cause of all the blood 
that had been spilt in the late war. 

There was commotion in the House and in town and 
the country. In the House some declared that there 
was no need to bring the King to trial ; others said 
that there existed no law by which he could be tried ; 
but all this was overruled. 

Meanwhile Hugh Peters was not idle. In a sermon 
addressed to the members of the two Houses a few 
days before the King's trial he said : " My Lords, and 
you noble Gentlemen,— It is you we chiefly look 
for justice from. Do you prefer the great Barabbas, 
Murderer, Tyrant, and Traitor, before these poor hearts 
(pointing to the red coats) and the army who are our 
saviour ? " 

In another sermon before Cromwell and Bradshaw 
he said: "There is a great discourse and talk in the 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 41 

world, What, will ye cut off the head of a Protestant 
Prince? Turn to your Bibles, and ye shall find it 
there. Whosoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his 
blood be shed. I see neither King Charles, Prince 
Charles, Prince Rupert, nor Prince Maurice, nor any 
of that rabble excepted out of it." 

Evelyn in his Diary, under date 17th January, 
1648-g, says : " I heard the rebel Peters invite the 
rebel powers met in the Painted Chamber to destroy 
his Majesty." Bishop Burnet says : " That he (Peters) 
had been outrageous in pressing the King's death with 
the cruelty and rudeness of an inquisitor." 

Pfynne, one of the secluded members, published 
"A brief memento to the present unparliamentary 
junto, touching their present intentions and proceedings 
to depose and execute Charles Stuart, their lawful King 
of England." 

The ofBcers now decided to gain the approval of the 
ministers — Presbyterian — in London, or at least per- 
suade them to remain neutral. 

Hugh Peters was selected for the purpose, and he 
went among them, but all his efforts were fruitless. 
They declared unanimously for the release of the King. 
He then invited several of them, Calamy, Whitaker, 
Sedgwick, etc., to a conference with some of the 
officers ; but instead of attending, the ministers as- 
sembled in Sion College and drew up "A serious and 
faithful representation of the judgment of the ministers 
of the Gospel within the province of London," dated 
i8th January, 1648-9. In this they protested against 
the coercive measures adopted toward the Parliament, 
and bade them beware of proceeding to extremities. 
" Examine your consciences, if any number of persons 
of different principles from yourselves had invaded the 
rights of Parliament, imprisoned the King, and carried 



42 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

him about from place to place, and attempted the dis- 
solution of the whole government, whether you would 
not have charged them with the highest crimes." 

This was subscribed by forty-seven ministers. 

A second paper, "A vindication of the London 
ministers from the unjust aspersions ... as if they 
had promoted the bringing of the King to capital 
punishment," appeared shortly after, signed by fifty- 
seven ministers. 

Even the Independent preachers shrank from ap- 
proving the proceedings of the council of officers in 
the trial of the King, with the exception of Hugh 
Peters and John Goodwin. Some of the Independent 
ministers in the country joined the Presbyterians in 
protesting against them. 

But it was all in vain. The King was tried and 
sentenced to death, and executed on 30th January, 1649. 
Rumour had it that the masked executioner was none 
other than Peters himself. This he denied, asserting 
that on the day of the King's death he was ill in bed. 
He had certainly been about and preaching not many 
days before. 

Who the executioner was, was never discovered, and 
Peters was not charged as such when tried for his life 
in 1660. 

In Epulce Thyestce, printed in 1649, Peters is accused 
of having been the executioner of King Charles : — 

There's Peters, the Denyer, (nay 'tis sad) 
He that, disguised, cut off his Master's head ; 
That godly pigeon of Apostacy 
Does buz about his Ante-Monarchy, 
His scaffold Doctrines. 

But there was an element of kindness in Hugh Peters 
that induced him to do gracious acts even to those 
whom he hated. Whitelocke assures us that " at a con- 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 43 

ference between him (Peters) and the King, the King 
desired one of his own chaplains might be permitted to 
come to him " on the occasion of his execution ; he 
had refused the ministrations of the Presbyterian 
divines, "and thereupon the Bishop of London was 
ordered to go to his Majesty." 

On a former occasion a message from the Queen was 
allowed to be transmitted to the King through the 
instrumentality of Peters. 

In his letter to his daughter Peters says: "I had 
access to the King — he used me civilly, I, in requital, 
offered my poor thoughts three times for his safety." 
It was an impertinence in the man to approach the 
King, when he had stirred up the army to demand his 
death, and had raced about London endeavouring to 
get the approval of the sentence from the ministers. 
Although we cannot believe that Hugh Peters was the 
executioner of Charles, yet he cannot be acquitted of 
being a regicide, on the same principle as the trumpeter 
in the fable was condemned to be hanged. His plea 
that he had tiot drawn a sword in the battle was not 
held to justify him — he had sounded the charge and 
summoned to the battle. 

Peters was one of the Triers appointed by Cromwell 
to test the parochial clergy, and to eject from their 
livings such as did not approve themselves to their 
judgment as fitting pastors to the flock either by their 
morals or theological opinions. 

Every parishioner who bore a grudge against his 
pastor was invited to lay his grievances before the 
Grand Committee. Lord Clarendon says : "Petitions 
presented by many parishioners against their pastors, 
with articles of their misdemeanours and behaviours 
. . . were read with great delight and promptly re- 
ferred to the Committee about Religion." The matter 



44 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

of these accusations was for the most part, as Clarendon 
informs us, " bowing at the name of Jesus, and oblig- 
ing the communicants to the altar, i.e. to the rails 
which enclosed the Communion table, to receive the 
sacrament." What the Puritans desired was that 
the minister should walk about the church distributing 
to the people in the pews. The observance of all holy 
days except Sundays had already been forbidden. A 
priest who said service on Christmas Day or Good 
Friday was certain of deprivation. But the great 
question put to each rector or vicar was, ' ' whether he 
had any experience of a work of grace " in his heart, 
and the answer to this determined whether he should 
be allowed to hold his cure or be thrust out, apart from 
all question of moral fitness. That there were a host 
of lukewarm, indifferent men in the ministry, caring 
little for religion and knowing little, without fixed con- 
victions, cannot be wondered at, after the swaying of 
the pendulum of belief during the last reigns, and 
these would be precisely the men who would be able 
volubly to assert their experience of divine grace, and 
abandon doctrines they never sincerely held and cere- 
monies about which they cared nothing. There were 
vicars of Bray everywhere. 

Butler hits off the work of the Triers in Hudibras :— 

Whose business is, by cunning sig-ht, 
To cast a figure for men's light ; 
To find in lines of Beard and Face 
The Physiognomy of Grace ; 
And by the Sound and Twang of Nose, 
If all the sound within disclose ; 
Free from a crack or flaw of sinning, 
As men try pipkins by the ringing. 

Peters was next appointed a commissioner for the 
amending of the laws, though he had no knowledge of 
law. He said himself, in his Legacy : " When I was a 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 45 

trier of others, I went to hear and gain experience, 
rather than to judge ; when I was called to mend laws, 
I rather was there to pray than to mend laws." White- 
locke says : " I was often advised with by some of this 
committee, and none of them was more active in this 
business than Mr. Hugh Peters, the minister, who un- 
derstood little of the law, but was very opinionative, 
and would frequently mention some proceedings of law 
in Holland, wherein he was altogether mistaken." 

Peters was chaplain to the Protector, and certainly in 
one way or another made a good deal of money. Dr. 
Barwick in his Life says:^ "The wild prophecies 
uttered by his (Hugh Peters') impure mouth were still 
received by the people with the same veneration as if 
they had been oracles ; though he was known to be 
infamous for more than one kind of wickedness. A 
fact which Milton himself did not dare to deny when 
he purposely wrote his Apology, for this very end, to 
defend even by name, as far as possible, the very 
blackest of the conspirators, and Hugh Peters among 
the chief of them, who were by name accused of mani- 
fest impieties by their adversaries. " Bishop Burnet says 
as well : " He was a very vicious man." 

Peters by his wife — his second wife. Deliverance, the 
widow of a Mr. Sheffield — became the father of the 
Elizabeth Peters to whom he addressed his Dying 
Father's Last Legacy. 

The Dutch having been disconcerted by the defeats 
of their fleets by Admiral Blake, and the messengers 
they had sent to England having failed to satisfy Crom- 
well, in the beginning of the year 1653 they commis- 
sioned Colonel Doleman and others to learn the senti- 
ments of the leading men in Parliament, and to gain 
over to the cause of peace Hugh Peters, as Cromwell's 

' Vita, J. Barwick, London, 1721. 



46 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

influential chaplain. Peters had always entertained 
tenderness for the Dutch, and he interceded on thei 
behalf, and the Dutch gave him ;^30o,ooo wherewith t 
bribe and purchase the amity of Parliament and th 
Protector. That a good share of this gold adhered t 
Peters' fingers we may be pretty confident ; am 
indeed it was intended that it should do so. Th 
attempt, however, did not succeed, and when the negc 
tiations were broken off, the Dutch fitted out anothe 
fleet under Van Tromp, De Witt, and De Ruyter, an( 
appointed four other deputies to go upon anothe 
embassy to England. These men arrived on July 2nd 
1658, and "all joined in one petition for a commor 
audience, praying thrice humbly that they should hav( 
a favourable answer, and beseeching the God of Peace 
to co-operate."^ 

These ambassadors, like the foregoing, sought ou 
Peters and engaged his services. After several inter 
views, peace was at last concluded 2nd May, 1654. Ir 
the Justification of the War, by Stubbe, is an engraving 
that represents the four deputies presenting their humbh 
petition to Peters. 

In 1655 feeling in England was greatly stirred by the 
account that reached the country of the persecution o; 
the Waldenses in the valleys of Piedmont. Cromwel 
at once ordered a collection for the sufferers to be made 
throughout the kingdom, and it amounted to upwards 
of ^38,000. In this Peters took an active part. Ludlov 
says : " He was a diligent and earnest solicitor for the 
distressed Protestants of the valleys of Piedmont. " 

Soon after the affair of the persecuted Waldense; 
was concluded the Protector formed an alliance, 
offensive and defensive, with the French, in which ii 
was agreed that Dunkirk should be delivered up tc 

1 Stubbe, Justification of the War, 1673, pt. ii. p. 83. 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 47 

him. In consequence of this agreement six thousand 
men were sent over to join the French army, and 
Peters received a commission to attend them thither. 
The town of Dunkirk, in consequence of this league, 
was taken from the Spaniards, and on the 26th of June, 
1658, was delivered to Colonel Lockart, Cromwell's 
ambassador at the French Court. 

Lockart wrote the following letter to Secretary 
Thurloe : — 

"Dunkirk, July 8-i8^A, 1658. 

"May it please your Lordship, 

" I could not suffer my worthy friend, Mr. Peters, 
to come away from Dunkirk without a testimony of the 
great benefits we have all received from him in this 
place, where he hath laid himself forth in great charity 
and goodness in sermons, prayers, and exhortations, 
in visiting and relieving the sick and wounded ; and, 
in all these, profitably applying the singular talent God 
hath bestowed upon him to the chief ends, proper for 
an auditory. For he hath not only showed the soldiers 
their duty to God, and pressed it home upon them, I 
hope with good advantage, but hath likewise acquainted 
them with their obligations of obedience to his High- 
ness's government and affection to his person. He 
hath laboured amongst us here with such goodwill, 
and seems to enlarge his heart towards us, and care of 
us for many other things, the effects whereof I design 
to leave upon that Providence which has brought us 
hither. . . . Mr. Peters hath taken leave at least three or 
four times, but still something falls out which hinders 
-his return to England. He hath been twice at Bergh, 
and hath spoke with the Cardinal (Mazarin) three or 
four times ; I kept myself by, and had a care that he did 
not importune him with too long speeches. He re- 



48 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

turns, loaden with an account of all things here, and 
hath undertaken every man's business. I must give 
him that testimony, that he gave us three or four very 
honest sermons ; and if it were possible to get him to 
mind preaching, and to forbear the troubling himself 
with other things, he would certainly prove a very fit 
minister for soldiers. I hope he cometh well satisfied 
from this place. He hath often insinuated to me his 
desire to stay here, if he had a call. Some of the 
officers also have been with me to that purpose ; but I 
have shifted him so handsomely as, I hope, he will not 
be displeased. For I have told him that the greatest 
service he can do us is to go to England and carry on 
his propositions, and to own us in all other interests, 
which he hath undertaken with much zeal." 

This letter lets us see what were some of Peters' 
weaknesses. He was vastly loquacious, so that Colonel 
Lockart had to see to it that he did not "importune 
the Cardinal with too long speeches," and he was con- 
ceited, self-opinionated, and meddlesome, interfering 
in matters beyond his province, so that the Colonel was 
heartily glad to be rid of him from Dunkirk. 

That there was humour in Hugh Peters, not unfre- 
quently running into profanity, would appear from a 
work, "The Tales and Jests of Mr. Hugh Peters, col- 
lected into one volume ; published by one that hath for- 
merly been conversant with the Author in his lifetime ; 
dedicated to Mr. John Goodwin and Mr. Philip Nye." 
London, 1660. 

These appeared in the same year under a different 
title—" Hugh Peters, his figaries, or his merry tales 
and witty jests both in city, town, and country." It 
was reprinted by James Caulfield in 1807. 

A few of these will suffice. 

Peters had preached for two hours ; the sands in the 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 49 

ur-glass had run out. He observed it, and turning 

over, said to his hearers : " Come, let us have another 

iss ! " 

Once he preached: "Beware, young men, of the 

ree W's — Wine, Women, and Tobacco. Now To- 

,cco, you will say, does not begin with a W. But 

lat is Tobacco but a weed ? " 

Another of his jests in the pulpit was, " England will 

iver prosper till one hundred and fifty are taken 

ray." The explanation is L L L — Lords, Lawyers, 

id Levites. 

Preaching on the devils entering into the swine 

i. Mark v. 23), he said that the miracle illustrated 

ree English proverbs : — 

1. That the devil will rather play at small game than 
t out. 

2. That those must needs go forward whom the devil 
■ives. 

3. That at last he brought his hogs to a fair market. 
It was a favourite saying of Peters that in Christen- 

3m there were neither scholars enough, gentlemen 
lough, nor Jews enough ; for, said he, if there were 
lore scholars there would not be so many pluralists in 
le Church ; if there were more gentry, so many born 
ould not be reckoned among them ; if there were 
ore Jews, so many Christians would not practise 
3ury. 

One rainy day Oliver Cromwell offered Peters his 
reatcoat. "No, thank you/' replied his chaplain; 
I would not be in your coat for a thousand pounds." 
Discoursing one day on the advantage Christians 
id in having the Gospel preached to them — " Verily," 
lid he, "the Word hath a free passage amongst 
3u, for it goes in at one ear and out at the 
;her." 



50 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Preaching on the subject of duties, he said : — 

"Observe the three fools in the Gospel, who, being 
bid to the wedding supper, every one had his excuse — 

" I. He that had hired a farm and must go see it. 
Had he not been a fool, he would have seen it before 
hiring it. 

' ' 2. He that had bought a yoke of oxen and must 
go try them. He also was a fool, because he did not 
try them before he bought them. 

"3. He that married a wife, and without complement 
said he could not come. He too was a fool, for he 
showed that one woman drew him away, more than 
a whole yoke of oxen did the former." 

Peters, invited to dinner at a friend's house, knowing 
him to be very wealthy and his wife very fat, said at 
table to his host, ' ' Truly, sir, you have the world and 
the flesh, but pray God you get not the devil in the 
end." 

The copy of the Tales and Jests of Hugh Peters in the 
British Museum has notes to some of them, showing 
that the writer regarded a certain number as genuine 
anecdotes of Peters. Most of the others are either 
older stories, or else have little or no wit in them. 

The above anecdotes are some of those thus noted. 

That Hugh Peters was a wag Pepys lets us know, 
for he speaks of a Scottish chaplain at Whitehall, after 
the Restoration, a Dr. Creighton, whose humour re- 
minded the diarist of Peters: "the most comical man 
that ever I heard ; just such a man as Hugh Peters." 

At the Restoration he was executed as a regicide. 
He was not directly implicated in the King's death, and 
all that he could be accused of was using words incen- 
tive to regicide. That he had been the executioner 
was not charged against him. There was no evidence. 
The accusations Hugh Peters had to meet were that he 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 51 

d encouraged the soldiers to cry out for the blood of 
e King, whom he had likened to Barabbas; that he 
,d preached against him; that he had accused the 
jvites, Lords, and Lawyers — the three L's, or the 
undred and Fifty, in allusion to the numerical value 

the numbers — as men who should be swept out of 
e Commonwealth ; that he had declared the King to 
! a tyrant, and that the office of King was useless and 
ingerous. 

Peters pleaded that he had been living fourteen 
;ars out of England, and that when he came home he 
und that the Civil War had already begun ; that he 
id not been at Edgehill or Naseby ; that he had 
loked after three things only — the introduction into 
le country of what he considered to be sound religion, 
le maintenance of learning, and the relief of the 
Dor. He further stated that on coming to England 
e had considered it his duty to side with the Parlia- 
lent, and that he had acted without malice, avarice, or 
mbition. 

The jury, with very little consultation, returned a 
erdict of guilty, and he was sentenced to death. 

On the i6th October Coke, the solicitor for the people 
F England who had acted against the King at his trial, 
tid Hugh Peters, who had stood and preached that no 
lercy should be shown him, were to die. 

On the hurdle which carried Coke was placed the 
ead of Harrison, who had been executed the day 
jfore — a piece of needless brutality, which the people 
ho lined the streets indignantly resented. On the 
laffold Coke declared that for the part he had borne 
1 the trial of Charles I he in no way repented of what 
5 had done. Hugh Peters was made to witness all the 
Drrible details of Coke's execution, the hanging, the 
isembowelling. He sat within the rails which sur- 



52 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

rounded the scaffold. According to Ludlow : "When 
this victim (Coke) was cut down and brought to be 
quartered, one Colonel Turner called to the sheriff's 
men to bring Mr. Peters to see what was doing ; which 
being done, the executioner came to him, and rubbing 
his bloody hands together, asked him how he liked 
that work. He told him he was not at all terrified, and 
that he might do his worst, and when he was on the 
ladder he said to the sheriff, ' Sir, you have butchered 
one of the servants of God before my eyes, and have 
forced me to see it, in order to terrify and discourage 
me ; but God has permitted it for my support and en- 
couragement.' " 

A man upbraided Peters with the King's death. 
"Friend," said Peters, "you do not well to trample 
upon a dying man : you are greatly mistaken ; I had 
nothing to do in the death of the King." 

As he was going to the gallows, he looked about him 
and espied a man with whom he was acquainted, and 
to him he gave a piece of money, having first bent it ; 
and he desired the man to carry that piece of gold to 
his daughter as a token, and to assure her that his 
heart was full of comfort, and that before that piece 
would reach her hand he would be with God in glory. 
Then the old preacher, who had lived in storms 
and whirlwinds, died with a quiet smile on his coun- 
tenance. 

That a considerable portion of the community re- 
garded the execution of the regicides as a crime, and 
those who suffered as martyrs, would appear from the 
pains taken to vilify their memory when dead, and 
attempts made to justify their execution. 

The authorities for the life of Hugh Peters are 
mainly: Memoirs of Edmund Ludlovi, 1771 ; B. White- 
locke's Memorials of English Affairs, 1732; Rush- 



HUGH PETERS, THE REGICIDE 53 

irth's Collections, 1692 ; Bishop Burnet's History of 
is Own Time, 1724; John Thurloe's Collection of State 
ipers, 1742 ; J. B. Felt's Ecclesiastical History of 
ew England, 1855 ; Benjamin Brooke's Puritans, 
13, Vol. Ill ; The Trial of Charles I and of Some of 
J Regicides, in Murray's Family Library, 1832 ; the 
3v. Samuel Peters' A History of the Rev. Hugh 
!ters. New York, 1807 ; An Historical and Critical 
ccount of Hugh Peters (with portrait), London, 1751, 
printed i8i8 ; Felt (Joseph B.), Memoir, a Defence of 
ugh Peters, Boston, 1857 ; Colomb (Colonel), The 
'ince of Army Chaplains, London, 1899 ; also Gar- 
ner's (S. R.) History of the Commonwealth, and the 
ictionary of National Biography, passim. 



JAMES POLKINGHORNE, 
THE WRESTLER 

JAMES POLKINGHORNE, the noted champion 
wrestler of Cornwall, was the son of James 
Polkinghorne, who died at Creed, i8th March, 
1836. The wrestler James was born at S. 
Keverne in 1788, but there is no entry of his baptism 
in the parish register. 

Cornish wrestling was very different from that in 
Devon — it was less brutal, as no kicking was allowed. 
The Devon wrestlers wore boots soaked in bullock's 
blood and indurated at the fire, and with these hacked 
the shins of their opponents, who wore as a protection 
skillibegs, or bands of hay twisted and wrapped round 
their legs below the knee. 

I have so fully described the wrestling in my Devon- 
shire Characters and Strange Events, that it is un- 
necessary here to go over the same ground more than 
cannot be helped. 

There was a Cornish jingle that ran as follows : — 

Chacewater boobies up in a tree, 
Looking as whish'd as ever could be, 
Truro men, strong- as oak, 
Knock 'em down at every stroke — 

that had reference to the wrestling matches. 

In 1816 Polkinghorne, who had become the inn- 
keeper of the "Red Lion," S. Columb Major, wrestled 
with Flower, a Devonshire man of gigantic stature, 

S4 




JAMES I'OLKINHORN, THE FAMOUS COKMSII WRESTLEK 
Frovt a draivin^ as he appeared in the Ring at Dei'nnport oti I\Ton<iay^ 
23 October, 1826, ivhev he threw Abin. Cann, the Champion of Devon- 
shire, Jvr a stake 0/ 200 soi-ereigns 



^MES POLKINGHORNE, THE WRESTLER 55 

d threw him. Then Jackman, another Devonian, 
allenged Polkinghorne, and he was cast over the 
ad of the Cornishman, describing the "flying mare," 
it the most notable contest in which Polkinghorne 
LS engaged was with Abraham Cann, the Devonshire 
ampion. The match was for ^200 a side, for the best 
three back-falls ; and it took place on October 23rd, 
26, on Tamar Green, Morice Town, Plymouth, in the 
esence of seventeen thousand spectators. I have 
loted the account already in my Devonshire Charac- 
's, but cannot omit it here. 

"Tamar Green, Devonport, was chosen for the pur- 
ise, and the West was alive with speculation when it 
IS known that the backers meant business. On the 
ening before the contest the town was inundated, 
id the resources of its hotels and inns were taxed to 
e utmost. Truculent and redoubtable gladiators 
icked to the scene — kickers from Dartmoor, the 
cruiting-ground of the Devonshire system, and bear- 
:e buggers from the land of Tre, Pol, and Pen — a 
jnderful company of tried and stalwart experts. Ten 
ousand persons bought tickets at a premium for 
ats, and the hills around swarmed with spectators, 
lie excitement was at the highest possible pitch, and 
erwhelming volumes of cheering relieved the tension 
the rivals entered the ring — Polkinghorne in his stock- 
gs, and Cann with a monstrous pair of shoes whose 
es had been baked into flints. As the men peeled for 
tion such a shout ascended as awed the nerves of all 
esent. Polkinghorne had been discounted as fat and 
iwieldy, but the Devonians were dismayed to find 
at, great as was his girth, his arms were longer, and 
s shoulders immensely powerful. Three stone lighter 
weight, Cann displayed a more sinewy form, and his 
jure was knit for strength, and as statuesquely pro- 



56 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

portioned. His grip, like Polkinghorne's, was we 
known. No man had ever shaken it off when once h 
had clinched ; and each enjoyed a reputation fc 
presence of mind and resource in extremity beyon 
those of other masters of the art. The match was fo 
the best of three back-falls, the men to catch what hoi 
they could ; and two experts from each county wer 
selected as sticklers. The feeling was in favour c 
Cann at the outset, but it receded as the Cornishma 
impressed the multitude with his muscular superiority 
Repeatedly shifting their positions, the combatant 
sought their favourite 'holds.' As soon as Cam 
caught his adversary by the collar, after a contendinj 
display of shifty and evasive form, Polkinghorn 
released himself by a feint ; and, amid ' terrible shout 
from the Cornishmen,' he drove his foe to his knees. 

" Nothing daunted, the Devonian accepted the Cor 
nish hug, and the efforts of the rivals were superb 
Cann depended on his science to save him, but Polking 
home gathered his head under his arm, and lifting hin 
from the ground, threw him clean over his shoulder 
and planted him on his back. The very earth groanec 
with the uproar that followed ; the Cornishmen jumpec 
by hundreds into the ring ; there they embraced thei 
champion till he begged to be released ; and, ami( 
cheers and execrations, the fall was announced to havi 
complied with the conditions. Bets to the amount o 
hundreds of pounds were decided by this event. 

" Polkinghorne now went to work with caution, anc 
Cann was conscious that he had an awkward custome 
to tackle. After heavy kicking and attempted hugging 
the Cornishman tried once more to lift his opponent 
but Cann caught his opponent's leg in his descent, an( 
threw him to the ground first. In the ensuing round; 
both men played for wind. Polkinghorne was th( 



more distressed, his knees quite raw with punishment, 
and the betting veered in Cann's favour. Then the 
play changed, and Cann was apparently at the mercy of 
his foe, when he upset Polkinghorne's balance by a 
consummate effort, and threw him on his back by sheer 
strength — the first that the sticklers allowed him. Cann 
next kicked tremendously ; but although the Cornish- 
man suffered severely, he remained 'dead game,' and 
twice saved himself by falling on his chest. 

" Disputes now disturbed the umpires, and their 
number was reduced to two. In the eighth round 
Polkinghorne's strength began to fail, and a dispute 
was improvised which occasioned another hour's delay. 
With wind regained and strength revived, the tenth 
round was contested with absolute fury ; and, taking 
kicking with fine contempt, Polkinghorne gripped Cann 
with leonine majesty, lifted him from the earth in his 
arms, turned him over his head, and dashed him to the 
ground with stunning force. As the Cornishman 
dropped on his knee the fall was disputed, and the turn 
was disallowed. Polkinghorne then left the ring amid 
a mighty clamour, and by reason of his default the 
stakes were awarded to Cann. The victor emerged 
from the terrific hug of his opponent with a mass 
of bruises, which proved that kicking was only one 
degree more effective than hugging. 

" A more unsatisfactory issue could hardly have been 
conceived, and the rival backers forthwith endeavoured 
to arrange another encounter. Polkinghorne refused 
to meet Cann, however, unless he discarded his shoes." ^ 

Various devices were attempted to bring them to- 
gether again, but they failed. Each had a wholesome 
dread of the other. 

• Whitfeld, Plymouth and Devonport in War and Peace, Plymouth, 
1900. 



58 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

An account of the contest was written as a ballad and 
was entitled ' ' A New Song on the Wrestling Match 
between Cann and Polkinghorne," that was to be sung 
to the tune "The Night I Married Susy," or else to 
" The Coronation." 

Full accounts are to be found in The Sporting Maga- 
zine, London, LXVH, 165-6; LXIX, 55-6, 215, 314- 
16, 344. In ih& Annual Register, chronicle 1826, 157-8. 

Polkinghorne died at S. Columb, on September 15th, 
1854, at the age of seventy-six, twenty-eight years after 
his match with Cann. He was buried on September 
17th. 



HENRY TRENGROUSE, INVENTOR 

HELSTON is a quaint old town, once of far 
more importance than at present. It pos- 
sessed an old castle, that has now disap- 
peared. It was one of the six stannary 
towns, and prior to 1832 returned two members to 
Parliament. It still glories in its "Furry Day," when 
the whole town goes mad, dancing, in spite of Metho- 
dism. It has on some of its old house-gables pixy 
seats, and it had a grammar school that has had notable 
masters, as Derwent Coleridge, and notable scholars, 
as Henry Trengrouse. It is the key and capital to that 
wonderful district, rich in geological and botanic and 
antiquarian interest, the Lizard. 

The great natural curiosity of Helston is Loe Pool, 
formed by the Comber, a small river, penned back by 
Loe Bar, a pebble-and-sand ridge thrown up by the 
sea. The sheet of water lying between wooded hills 
abounds in trout, and white swans float dreamily over 
the still water. The banks are rich with fern, and 
yellow, white, and pink mesembryanthemum. For- 
merly the pool rose till it overflowed the lower parts 
of the town ; now a culvert has been driven through 
the rocks to let off the water as soon as it has attained 
a certain height. 

Henry Trengrouse was born at Helston, i8th March, 
1772, the son of Nicholas Trengrouse (1739-1814), and 
of Mary, his wife, who was a Williams. 

The family had been long among the freeholders of 

59 



6o CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Helston, and possessed as well a small estate, Priske, 
in the parish of Mullion ; but the family name is taken 
from Tref-an-grouse, the House by the Cross, in the 
same parish. 

Henry was educated in Helston Grammar School, 
and became, by trade, a cabinet-maker. 

On 29th December, 1807, when he was aged thirty- 
five, a rumour spread through the little town that a 
large frigate, H.M.S. Anson, had been driven ashore 
on Loe Bar, about three miles distant. Mr. Trengrouse 
and many others hastened to the coast and reached the 
bar. 

The Anson, forty-four guns, under the command of 
Captain Lydiard, had left Falmouth on Christmas Eve 
for her station off Brest as a look-out ship for the 
Channel Fleet. 

A gale from the W.S.W. sprang up, and after being 
buffeted about till the 28th, with the wind increasing, 
the captain determined to run to port. The first land 
they made was the Land's End, which they mistook 
for the Lizard, and only discovered their mistake when 
the cry of " Breakers ahead ! " was heard from the man 
on the look-out. They were now embayed, and in 
face of the terrible storm it was impossible to work off, 
so both cables were let go. The Anson rode to these 
till the early morning of the 29th, when they parted, 
and the captain, in order to save as many lives as 
possible, decided to beach her on the sand off Loe Pool. 
A tremendous sea was running, and as she took the 
beach only sixty yards from the bar, she was dashed 
broadside on, and happily for the poor fellows on 
board, heeled landwards. Seas mountains high rolled 
over her, sweeping everything before them. Then her 
masts went by the board, her main mast forming a float- 
ing raft from the ship almost to the shore, and over this 




HENRY TRENGROUSE, THE INVENTOR OF THE ROCKET APPARATUS 

FOR SAVING LIFE AT SEA 

From an oil painting hy Opie the younger, re/trodrtced by pertitission of Mr. H. Trengronss 



HENRY TRENGROUSE, INVENTOR 6i 

scrambled through the maddened waves most of those 
who were saved. 

It was a terrible sight to witness for the hundreds of 
spectators who had by this time collected on the beach, 
but it was almost impossible for them to render any 
assistance. 

At last, when all hands seemed to have left the ship, 
two stout-hearted Methodist local preachers — Mr. Tobias 
Roberts, of Helston, and Mr. Foxwell, of Mullion— 
made an attempt to reach her, so as to see if any one 
remained on board. They succeeded, and were soon 
followed by others, who found several people, includ- 
ing two women and as many children. The women and 
some of the men were safely conveyed ashore, but the 
children were drowned. There were altogether up- 
wards of a hundred drowned, including the captain, 
who stood by the frigate to the last. The exact number 
was never known, as many of the soldiers deserted on 
reaching the shore. 

The survivors salved a good deal from the wreck, 
amongst which were watches, jewellery, and many 
articles of considerable value. They were placed all to- 
gether in a bedroom of the old inn at Porthleven, with 
a soldier with drawn sword on guard. One of the 
beams that bent under such an unusual weight may be 
seen bowed to this day. A local militia sergeant was 
soon afterwards sent to Helston in charge of a wagon- 
load of these valuable goods, and when half-way to his 
destination was accosted by a Jew, who offered him 
;^5o in exchange for his load. " Here is my answer," 
said the sergeant, presenting a loaded pistol at his 
head, and the fellow hurriedly took his departure. 

Much indignation was raised at the time by the way 
in which the victims of the disaster were buried. They 
were bundled in heaps into large pits dug in the cliff 



62 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

above, without any burial service being performed over 
them. It was customary everywhere at that time for all 
bodies washed ashore to be interred by the finder at 
the nearest convenient spot. But as a result of the in- 
decent methods of burial of the Anson victims, an Act 
of Parliament was framed by Mr. Davies Gilbert, and 
passed on i8th June, 1808, providing "suitable inter- 
ment in churchyards and parochial burying-grounds " 
for all bodies cast up by the sea. 

The Anson was a sixty-four gun frigate cut down 
to a forty-four, and had seen much service. . Among 
many fights, she figured in Lord Rodney's action on 
i2th April, 1782, formed part of the fleet which re- 
pulsed the French squadron in an attempt to land in 
Ireland in 1796, helped in the seizure of the French 
West Indies in 1803, and in 1807 took part in the cap- 
ture of Cura9ao from the Dutch. It was not long after 
her return from this latter place that she left Falmouth 
for the cruise on which she met her fate.^ 

In 1902 the hull of the Anson, after having been 
submerged for ninety-five years, came to light again. 
She was found by Captain Anderson of the West of 
England Salvage Company, whose attention had been 
directed to the wreck by a Porthleven fisherman. Un- 
fortunately at the time the weather was so stormy that 
Captain Anderson could not proceed with any efforts 
of salvage, and with the exception of one visit of 
inspection the interesting relic was left untouched. 
But in April, 1903, with a bright sky and a light breeze 
from the north-east, he proceeded to the spot and in- 
spected the remains. The hull of the vessel was not 
intact, and several guns were lying alongside. One of 
these, about 10 ft. 6 in. long, Captain Anderson secured 
and hoisted on to the deck of the Green Castle by means 

1 Morning Leader, 29th October, 1902. 



HENRY TRENGROUSE, INVENTOR 63 

of a winch, and afterwards conveyed it to Penzance. It 
was much encrusted. Amongst the mass of debris also 
raised were several cannon-balls. 

But to return to Henry Trengrouse, who had stood 
on the beach watching the wreck, the rescue of some 
and the perishing of others. 

Drenched with rain and spray, and sick at heart, 
Henry Trengrouse returned to his home, and was con- 
fined to his bed for nearly a week, having contracted 
a severe cold. The terrible scene had made an in- 
delible impression on his mind, and he could not, even 
if he had wished it, drive the thought away. Night 
and day he mused on the means whereby some assist- 
ance could be given to the shipwrecked, some com- 
munication be established between the vessel and the 
shore. 

He was a great friend of Samuel Drew, whose 
life was devoted to metaphysics, and it was perhaps 
the contrast in the two minds that made them friends 
— one an idealist, the other practical. 

Trengrouse had a small competence, besides his trade, 
and he devoted every penny that he could spare to 
experiments, first in the construction of a lifeboat, but 
without satisfactory results. 

The King's birthday was celebrated at Helston with 
fireworks on the green ; and as Henry Trengrouse 
looked up at the streak of fire rushing into the darkness 
above and scattering a shower of stars, it occurred to 
him. Why should not a rocket, instead of wasting 
itself in an exhibition of fireworks, do service and 
become a means of carrying a rope to a vessel among 
the breakers? When a communication has been estab- 
lished between the wreck and the shore, above the 
waves, it may become an aerial passage along which 
those in distress may pass to safety. 



64 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Something of the same idea had already occurred to 
Lieutenant John Bell in 1791, but his proposal was that 
a shot with a chain attached to it should be discharged 
from a mortar. Captain George William Manby had 
his attention drawn to this in February, 1807, and in 
August of the same year exhibited some experiments 
with his improved life-preserving mortar to the mem- 
bers of the Suffolk House Humane Society. By the 
discharge of the mortar a barbed shot was to be flung 
on to the wreck, with a line attached to the shot. By 
means of this line a hawser could be drawn from the 
shore to the ship, and along it would be run a cradle in 
which the shipwrecked persons could be drawn to land. 
Manby's mortar was soon abandoned as cumbrous 
and dangerous ; men were killed during tests ; not- 
withstanding which he was awarded ;£'2000. The great 
merit of Trengrouse's invention was that the rocket 
was much lighter than a shot from a mortar, and was, 
moreover, more portable, and there was a special line 
manufactured for it that would not kink, nor would 
it snap, because the velocity of the rocket increased 
gradually, whereas that from a discharge of a mortar 
was sudden and so great that the cord was frequently 
ruptured. 

The distinctive feature of Trengrouse's apparatus 
consisted of " a section of a cylinder, which is fitted to 
the barrel of a musket by a bayonet socket ; a rocket 
with a line attached to its stick is so placed on it that its 
priming receives fire immediately from the barrel " ; ^ 
whereas a metal mortar could not be conveyed to the 
cliff or shore opposite the scene of disaster without 

' There is an engraving of it in the Annual Report of the Society of 
Arts for 1821. The life-preserving rocket was exhibited on the Serpentine 
before the Duke of Clarence, afterwards King William IV, on May 28th, 
1819. People looked on as at some firework display, and nothing came 
of it. 



HENRY TRENGROUSE, INVENTOR 65 

ng drawn in a conveyance by horses, and where 
ire was no road with the utmost difficulty dragged 
it hedges and ploughed fields by men. Not only so, 
t a shot discharged by Captain Manby's mortar was 
ble to endanger life. Wrecks generally happened 
the dark, and then the shot would not be visible to 
3se on the wreck. But Trengrouse's rocket would 
iicate its track by the trail of fire by which it was 
pelled, and could be fired from either the ship or the 
ore. 

Trengrouse expended ;^3O0o on his experiments, and 
crificed to this one object — that of saving life — 
s capital, his business, and his health. He cut off 
e entail on Priske, which had belonged to the 
mily for several generations, and sold it to enable 
m to pursue his experiments. There was much 
at was pathetic in his life : there were the long 
id frequent journeys to London from Helston, four 
lys by coach, sometimes in mid-winter and in snow- 
orms, with the object of inducing successive Govern- 
ents to adopt the rocket apparatus, meeting only with 
scouragement. Nor was this all. After all his own 
cans had been exhausted, he received a legacy of 
500 under a brother's will, and this sum he at once 
!voted to further endeavours with H.M. Government 
r the general adoption of his rocket apparatus. 
The Russian ambassador now stepped forward and 
vited Trengrouse to S. Petersburg, where he assured 
m that, instead of rebuffs, he would experience only 
e consideration due to him for his inventions. But 
rengrouse's reply was, "My country first"; and 
iat country allowed him, after the signal services he 
id rendered to humanity — to die penniless. 
His original design was to supply every ship with a 
icket apparatus ; as vessels were almost invariably 



66 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

wrecked before the wind, the line might the more easily 
be fired from a ship than from the shore. 

Trengrouse once met Sir William Congreve, who 
also claimed to be the inventor of the war-rocket ; and 
Trengrouse said to him in the course of their dis- 
cussion, "As far as I can see. Sir William, your 
rocket is designed to destroy life ; mine is to save life ; 
and I do claim to be the first that ever thought of 
utilizing a rocket for the saving of human lives."^ 

Trengrouse moreover invented the cork jacket or 
"life preserver." This was a success, and has never 
been improved on. It has been the means of saving 
many hundreds of lives. He also built a model of a 
lifeboat, that could not be sunk, and was equal to the 
present lifeboats of the Royal Lifeboat Association 
in all respects except the "self-righting" principle. 
It was not until February 28th, 1818, after many jour- 
neys to London, and much ignorant and prejudiced 
objection that he had to contend against, such as is 
found so usual among Government officials, that Tren- 
grouse was able to exhibit his apparatus before Admiral 
Sir Charles Rowley. A committee was appointed, and 
on March 5th it reported favourably on the scheme. 

In the same year the Committee of the Elder 
Brethren of Trinity House reported in high terms 
on the invention, and recommended that "no vessel 
should be without it." 

Thereupon Government began to move slowly ; in 
the House the matter was discussed and haggled over. 
One speaker exclaimed: "You are guilty of sinful 
negligence in this matter, for while you are parleying 
over this invention and this important subject, thou- 
sands of our fellow-men are losing their lives." 

• Trengrouse's apparatus fitted into a case 4 ft. 3 in. long by i ft. 6 in. 
wide. 



HENRY TRENGROUSE, INVENTOR 67 
At last Government ordered twenty sets of the life- 
sserving rockets, but afterwards resolved on making 
i apparatus itself, and paid Trengrouse the sum of 
o, the supposed amount of profit he would have 
ide on the order. Fifty pounds was all his ungrate- 
I country could afford to give him. In 1821, how- 
er, the Society of Arts pronounced favourably on 
5 apparatus, and presented Trengrouse with their 
ver medal and a grant of thirty guineas. 
Through the Russian ambassador, the then Czar sent 
n a. diamond ring, in consideration of the great 
vantage his apparatus had proved in shipwrecks on 
; Baltic and the Black Sea. Even this he was con- 
ained to pledge, that he might devote the money to 
3 darling project. 
With these acknowledgments of his services he had 

rest contented ; but ever the news of lives having 
en saved through his invention was a solace to an 
en and contented mind. 

Henry Trengrouse died at Helston on February 
th, 1854. 
As he lay on his death-bed with his face to the wall, 

turned about, and with one of his bright, hopeful 
liles said to his son, " If you live to be as old as 
im, you will find my rocket apparatus all along our 
ores." They were his last words ; in a few minutes 

had passed away. 

The rocket apparatus is along the shores at 300 
itions, but not, as he had hoped, on board the 
ssels. He had despaired of obtaining that, yet that 
what he aimed at principally. 

In April, 1905, owing to the loss of the Kyier on 
e Land's End coast, questions were asked in the 
ouse of Commons relative to wireless telegraphy 
tween the lighthouses and the coast. On that occa- 



68 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

sion one of the most valuable suggestions was made 
by a shipping expert, who considered that the Board 
of Trade should make it compulsory that a light rocket 
apparatus should be carried by all vessels, so that, 
when in distress, if near the coast, the crew could send 
a rocket ashore. This marine engineer said: "On 
shore the rockets must be fired by practised men, such 
as coastguards, because they have to strike a small 
object ; but on a vessel they have only to hit the land, and 
if people are about, the line will quickly be seized and 
made fast. At present, too, horses and wagons have to be 
used, and sometimes it is difficult to find a road leading 
down to the spot from which help must be rendered. 
Probably for twenty pounds an appliance could be kept 
on board a vessel which would send a line ashore in less 
time and with more certainty than at present. When 
a vessel is being blown ashore, I have seen rockets 
fired from the land return like a boomerang to the cliff 
on account of the strength of the gale. In my judg- 
ment, mariners should assist in their own salvation." 

On this Mr. H. Trengrouse, grandson of the in- 
ventor, wrote to the Comishman, 24th April, 1905 : — 

"Your suggestion in the Comishman of the 15th 
instant . . . that all vessels should be compelled by 
the Board of Trade to carry this apparatus, is very 
practical, and should, and I trust may, be soon 
adopted. 

" It may interest your readers to learn that the in- 
ventor, my grandfather, the late Mr. Henry Tren- 
grouse, of Helston, urged this upon successive Govern- 
ments without any encouragement whatever, and I on 
two occasions have also suggested it to the principals 
of the Marine Department of the Board of Trade, who 
have informed me of a strong opinion always enter- 
tained, that on the occasion of wreck, there would 



HENRY TRENGROUSE, INVENTOR 69 

probably not be any one on board possessing sufficient 
knowledge of the use of the apparatus to render it of 
any value ; which seems very strange indeed, and 
might be readily obviated by, at least, the captain and 
officers of vessels being instructed in its use — surely 
simple enough. My grandfather devoted much time 
to make it so ; and the advantage of an appliance for 
use on board is so palpable, and the loss of life during 
many years by its absence so considerable, that it is 
extremely gratifying to observe a renewed and increas- 
ing interest in the subject, which I hope. Sir, as you 
state, being so important, may now be kept to the fore. 
" I am. Sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 

" H. Trengrouse." 

That this admirable letter to the Cornishman should 
at the time produce no effect on the Board of Trade 
is what every one who has had any dealings with that 
Board would predicate. 

At length, however, some goading has roused that 
obstructive, inert body into inquiring into this matter. 
I read in the Daily Express of 27th January, 1908 : 
" The question whether the carrying of rockets for 
projecting lifelines should be made compulsory on all 
British ships is being investigated by a special com- 
mittee appointed by the Board of Trade. One witness 
before the committee said that he had seen fifty men 
drowned within sixty yards of the shore in a gale, and 
that all might have been saved had the vessel been 
equipped with line-throwing guns." 

So — after the lapse of eighty-six or seven years, and 
the loss of thousands of lives that might have been 
saved had not the Board of Trade been too inert to 
move in the matter — an inquiry has once more been 



70 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

instituted. Let us hope that after this inquiry the 
matter may not be allowed to fall again into neglect. ^ 

That the rock&t fired from the shore has been already 
the means of saving lives, the following report on it 
made to the Board of Trade, for the year ending 
30th June, 1907, will testify : — 

" During the year ended as above, 268 lives were 
saved by means of the life-saving apparatus, that is to 
say, 127 more than the number saved by the same 
means during the previous year, and 67 more than the 
average for the previous ten years. The total number 
of lives saved by the life-saving apparatus since 1870 
is 8924. This number does not include the large 
number of lives saved by means of ropes and other 
assistance from the shore." 

After the loss of the Berlin, belonging to the Great 
Eastern Company, in 1907, the attention of the Dutch 
Government was called to the advantage of having the 
rocket apparatus on board ship, and legal instructions 
were drafted, making it obligatory upon all vessels of 
over two hundred tons gross to carry rocket apparatus. 

Henry Trengrouse's noble life was a failure in so 
far as that it brought him no pecuniary results — covered 
him with disappointment, reduced him to poverty. He 
received, in all, for his life's work, and the sacrifice of 
fortune and the landed estate of his ancestors, ;^50 
from Government, ;^3i loj. from the Society of Arts, 
and a diamond ring that in his time of need he was 
constrained to pawn, and which he was never able to 
redeem. 

Russell Lowell puts these lines into the mouth of 
Cromwell, in his Glance behind the Curtain : — 

My God, when I read o'er the bitter lives 
Of men whose eager hearts are quite too great 
To beat beneath the cramp'd mode of the day, 
And see them mocked at by the world they love, 



HENRY TRENGROUSE, INVENTOR 71 

Haggling with prejudice for pennyworths 
Of that reform which this hard toil will make 
The common birthright of the age to come — 
When I see this, spite of my faith in God, 
I marvel how their hearts bear up so long ; 
Nor could they, but for this same prophecy, 
This inward feeling of the glorious end. 

Henry Trengrouse married Mary, daughter of Samuel 
and Mary Jenken, 19th November, 1795. She was born 
at S. Erth, 9th September, 1772, and died at Helston, 
27th March, 1863. By her he had one son only who 
reached manhood, Nicholas Trevenen Trengrouse, who 
died at the age of seventy-four ; and one daughter, Jane, 
who married Thomas Rogers, solicitor, of Helston ; 
Emma, who married a Mr. Matthews ; and two, Mary 
and Anne, who died unmarried, the first at the age of 
eighty, the latter at that of ninety-four. 

To Mr. Henry Trengrouse, the son of Mr. Nicholas 
T. Trengrouse, I am indebted for much information 
relative to his grandfather, as also to a lecture, never 
published, delivered in 1894 by the Rev. James 
Ninnis, who says in a letter to Mr. H. Trengrouse, 
junior: "Most of the detail I have taken from notes 
of my father, dated 1878; he got them from conversation 
with your respected father." 

Mr. J. Ninnis' grandfather had stood on the beach 
by the side of Henry Trengrouse, watching the wreck 
of the Anson. 

A portrait of the inventor, by Opie the younger, is 
in the possession of the family at Helston, as is also 
the picture of the wreck of the Anson sketched at the 
time by Mr. Trengrouse. For permission to reproduce 
both I am indebted to the courtesy of the grandson 
of the inventor. 



THE BOTATHAN GHOST 

IN April, 1720, Daniel Defoe published his History 
of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Duncan 
Campbell. In August a second edition was 
called for, of which some copies included a 
pamphlet that had been printed in June : " Mr. Camp- 
bell's Pacquet, for the Entertainment of Gentlemen and 
Ladies," and this " Pacquet " contains "A Remarkable 
Passage of an Apparition, related by the Rev. Dr. 
Ruddle, of Launceston, in Cornwall, in the year 1665." 

It has been assumed that this ghost story was a bit of 
invention of the lively imagination of Defoe. Mrs. 
Bray in her Trelawny of Trelawne stated that the story 
could not be true, as no such a name as Dingley, which 
was that of the ghost, was known in Launceston. As 
it happened, James Dingley had been instituted to the 
vicarage of the very parish of South Petherwin, in 
which the ghost appeared, in the same reign in which 
the apparition occurred, and he assisted Ruddle in his 
ministrations in Launceston, and the name occurs to this 
day in the town and neighbourhood. In fact, Dingley, 
Pethebridge, and Dingley are bankers there. 

In the same heedless fashion Cyrus Redding wrote 
in 1842 that the story was "told with so much simplicity 
of truth that it is difficult to believe that the tale is not, 
as novel writers say, ' founded on fact.'" And he goes 
on to state : " No clergyman of the name of Ruddle had 
been incumbent in Launceston for two hundred years 
past, at least in S. Mary's Church." Yet the monu- 

72 




"parson rudall" 

From a painting in the possession of the Rev. S. Baring Goti Id 



THE BOTATHAN GHOST 73 

ment of Parson Ruddle is in the church, and he 
occupied the living from 1663 to his death in 1699. 

Again, Samuel Drew, in his History of Corn-mall, 
blunders as to the locality, making the apparition 
appear in the parish of Little Petherick, near Padstow. 

Next Mr. Hawker, of Morwenstow, fabricated a 
"Diurnall" of Ruddle, which adopted Drew's error, 
and by altering the date made the story as given by 
him disagree with the facts as they stand upon record. 

The "Remarkable Passage of an Apparition" was no 
invention of Defoe ; it was a genuine narrative written 
by the hand of John Ruddle himself. This has been 
conclusively demonstrated by the late Mr. Alfred 
Robbins in the Cornish Magazine, 1898. 

John Ruddle, M.A. of Caius College, Cambridge, 
was instituted to the vicarage of Altarnon on May 
24th, 1662 ; and the incumbency of S. Mary Magdalen, 
Launceston, becoming vacant by the ejection of the 
Independent intrusive pastor, Ruddle was appointed 
to it, and " began his ministry at Launceston on y^ 
Feast of Our Saviour's Nativity, 1663." At the same 
time he received the appointment to the Launceston 
Free School as master. 

Now it so fell out that he was invited on the 20th 
June, 1665, to preach a funeral sermon on the occasion 
of the burial of John Eliot at South Petherwin. John 
was the son of Edward Eliot, of Trebursey, who was 
the third son of Sir John Eliot, who died in the Tower 
of London. 

After the conclusion of the service. Parson Ruddle 
was leaving the church, when an "ancient gentleman" 
addressed him, and. Ruddle says, "With an unusual 
importunity almost forced against my humour to see 
his house that night ; nor could I have rescued myself 
from his kindness, had not Mr. Eliot interposed and 



74 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

pleaded title to me for the whole of the day." How- 
ever, Ruddle promised to call on the old gentleman, 
whose name was Bligh, and whose house was Botathan. 

The Blighs were an ancient family, well connected 
and owning a good estate, but Botathan was not a 
house of any pretence, and it is now the dwelling of a 
farmer, and has not the appearance of having been the 
residence of a county family. 

On the following Monday John Ruddle went to 
Botathan, where he partook of an early dinner, and 
a neighbouring parson had been invited to meet 
him. 

"After dinner this brother of the coat undertook to 
show me the gardens, when, as I was walking, he 
gave me the first discovery of what was mainly in- 
tended in all this treat and compliment. First he began 
to tell the infortunity of the family in general, and 
then gave an instance in the youngest son. He re- 
lated what a hopeful, sprightly lad he lately was, and 
how melancholic and sottish he was now grown. Then 
did he with much passion lament that his ill-humour 
should so incredibly subdue his reason ; for, says he, 
the poor boy believes himself to be haunted with 
ghosts, and is confident that he meets with an evil 
spirit in a certain field about half a mile from this 
place as often as he goes that way to school. 

"In the midst of our twaddle the old gentleman and 
his lady came up to us. Upon their approach, and 
pointing me to the arbour, the parson renews the rela- 
tion to me ; and they (the parents of the youth) 
confirmed what he said, and added many minute cir- 
cumstances. In fine, they all three desired my 
thoughts and advice in the affair." 

Neither the parents nor the parson who made this 
communication believed that the boy saw anything; 



THE BOTATHAN GHOST 75 

they shrewdly suspected that he was lazy, and made 
the apparition an excuse for not going to school. 

Ruddle, however, saw the boy, and was convinced of 
his sincerity. "He told me with all naked freedom, 
and a flood of tears, that his friends were unkind and 
unjust to him, neither to believe nor pity him ; and 
that if any man (making a bow to me) would but go 
with him to the place, he might be convinced that the 
thing was real. 

"'This woman which appears to me,' saith he, 
' lived a neighbour here to my father, and died about 
eight years since ; her name, Dorothy Dingley. She 
never speaks to me, but passeth by hastily, and always 
leaves the footpath to me, and she commonly meets me 
twice or three times in the breadth of the field. 

" ' It was about two months before I took notice of it, 
and though the shape of the face was in my memory, 
yet I did not recall the name of the person, but I did 
suppose it was some woman who lived there about, and 
had frequent occasion that way. Nor did I imagine 
anything to the contrary before she began to meet me 
constantly, morning and evening, and always in the 
same field (the Higher Brown Quartils), and some- 
times twice or thrice in the breadth of it. 

"'The first time I took notice of her was about 
a year since, and when I first began to suspect it to be 
a ghost, I had courage enough not to be afraid, but 
kept it to myself a good while, and only wondered very 
much about it. I did often speak to it, but never had 
a word in answer. Then I changed my way, and went 
to school the under Horse Road, and then she always 
met me in the narrow lane, between the Quarry Park 
and the Nursery, which was worse. At length I began 
to be terrified at it, and prayed continually that God 
would either free me from it or let me know the mean- 



76 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

ing of it. Night and day, sleeping and waking, the 
shape was ever running in my mind, when, by 
degrees, I grew pensive, inasmuch that it was taken 
notice of by all our family ; whereupon, being urged 
to it, I told my brother William of it, and he privately 
acquainted my father and mother, and they kept it to 
themselves for some time. 

" ' The success of this discovery was only this : they 
did sometimes laugh at me, sometimes chide me, but 
still commanded me to keep to my school, and put such 
fopperies out of my head. I did accordingly go to 
school often, but always met the woman by the way.' " 

When Parson Ruddle had heard this story he pro- 
mised the boy to go with him next morning to the field, 
and went with the lad to the hall, whither the parents 
and the parson, the Rev. Samuel Williams, came to 
meet them from the parlour. They began at once to 
importune Ruddle about the interview and to pass 
remarks on the boy, who fled from them to his own 
room. The vicar of Launceston begged them to re- 
strain their curiosity till he had made further investiga- 
tion into the matter, 

"The next morning, before five o'clock, the lad was 
in my chambers, and very brisk. I arose and went 
with him. The field he led me to I guessed to be 
twenty acres, in an open country, and about three fur- 
longs from any house. We went into the field, and 
had not gone above a third part before the spectrum, in 
the shape of a woman, with all the circumstances he 
had described her to me the day before, met us and 
passed by. I was a little surprised at it, and though I 
had taken up a firm resolution to speak to it, yet I had 
not the power, nor indeed durst I look back ; yet I took 
care not to show any fear to my pupil and guide, and 
therefore telling him that I was satisfied in the truth of 



THE BOTATHAN GHOST 77 

his complaint, we walked to the end of the field and re- 
turned, nor did the ghost meet us that time above 
once. 

"At our return the gentlewoman watched to speak 
with me. I gave her a convenience, and told her that 
my opinion was that her son's complaint was not to be 
slighted, yet that my judgment in his case was not 
settled. I gave her caution that the thing might not 
take wind, lest the whole country should ring with what 
we had yet no assurance of. 

" In this juncture of time I had business which 
would admit no delay, wherefore I went to Launceston 
that evening, but promised to see them again next 
week. Yet I was prevented by an occasion which 
pleaded a sufficient excuse. However, my mind was 
upon the adventure. I studied the case, and about 
three weeks after went again, resolving, by the help of 
God, to see the utmost. 

"The next morning, the 27th day of July, 1665, I 
went to the haunted field by myself, and walked the 
breadth of the field without any encounter. I returned 
and took the other walk, and then the spectrum ap- 
peared to me, much about the same place where I saw 
it before, when the young gentleman was with me. In 
my thoughts it moved swifter than the time before, and 
about ten feet distant from me on my right hand, inso- 
much that I had not time to speak, as I had determined 
with myself beforehand. 

"The evening of this day, the parents, the son, and 
myself being in the chamber where I lay, I pro- 
pounded to them our going all together to the place next 
morning, and after some asseveration that there was 
no danger in it, we all resolved upon it. The morning 
being come, lest we should alarm the servants, they 
went under the pretence of seeing a field of wheat, and 



78 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

I took my horse and fetched a compass another way, 
and so met at the stile we had appointed. 

"Thence we all four walked leisurely into the 
Quartils, and had passed above half the field before 
the ghost made appearance. It then came over the 
stile just before us, and moved with that swiftness that 
by the time we had gone six or seven steps it passed 
by. I immediately turned head and ran after it, with 
the young man by my side ; we saw it pass over the 
stile by which we entered, but no farther. I stepped 
upon the hedge at one place, he at another, but could 
discern nothing ; whereas I dare aver that the swiftest 
horse in England could not have conveyed himself out 
of sight in that short space of time. Two things I 
observed in this day's appearance, (i) That a spaniel 
dog, who followed the company unregarded, did bark 
and run away as the spectrum passed by ; whence it is 
easy to conclude that it was not our fear or fancy which 
made the apparition. (2) That the motion of the 
spectrum was not by steps and moving of the feet, but 
a kind of gliding, as children upon ice or a boat down 
a swift river. 

" But to proceed. This ocular evidence clearly con- 
vinced, but strangely frightened, the old gentleman and 
his wife, who knew this Dorothy Dingley in her life- 
time, were at her burial, and now plainly saw her 
features in this present apparition. 

"The next morning, being Thursday, I went out 
very early by myself, and walked for about an hour's 
space in meditation and prayer in the field next adjoin- 
ing the Quartils. Soon after five I stepped over the 
stile into the disturbed field, and had not gone above 
thirty or forty paces before the ghost appeared at the 
farther stile. I spake to it with a loud voice, where- 
upon it approached, but slowly, and when I came near 



THE BOTATHAN GHOST 79 

it moved not. I spake again, and it answered, in a 
voice neither very audible nor intelligible. I was not 
in the least terrified, and therefore persisted until it 
spake again and gave me satisfaction. But the work 
could not be finished at this time ; wherefore the same 
evening, an hour after sunset, it met me again near 
the same place, and after a few words on each side it 
quickly vanished, and neither doth appear since, nor 
ever will more to any man's disturbance. The discourse 
in the morning lasted about a quarter of an hour, 

"These things are true, and I know them to be so, 
with as much certainty as eyes and ears can give me ; 
and until I can be persuaded that my senses do deceive 
me about their proper object, and by that persuasion 
deprive myself of the strongest inducement to believe 
the Christian religion, I must and will assert that these 
things in this paper are true." 

It must be noted that Defoe in his printed account 
omits the names of the family of Bligh, and that he 
changes Dorothy Dingley into Mrs. Veale, Parson 
Ruddle's original MS. is not in existence ; it was 
probably given to Defoe; but a copy is preserved made 
by the son of the Rev. John Ruddle. Defoe was in 
Launceston acting as a spy for the minister Harley in 
August, 1705, and at that time he must have got hold of 
the MS. After the signature "John Ruddle "at the 
end of the narrative and the date is the sentence : 
"This is a copy of w* I found written by my 
father and signed John Ruddle. Taken by me, 
William Ruddle," who had become vicar of South 
Petherwin in 1695, and who became subsequently in- 
cumbent also of S. Thomas-by-Launceston. This 
copy bears the following attestation: "The readers 
may observe y* I borrowed the remarkable passage of 
y* grandson of John Ruddle who had it from his Uncle 



8o CORNISH CHARACTERS 

William Ruddle. I think I'm exact in its transcription. 
I well know the s"* John Ruddle to have had (and I 
daresay deserved) the character of a learned and emi- 
nent Divine, and I also knew his son y* sayd William 
Ruddle, a Divine whose character was so bright y* I 
have no room to add to its lustre, and I hereby certify 
y* I copyed this from y^ very hand-writing of the sayd 
William Ruddle. Quinto die Februarii Anno Dni, 
1730. James Wakeman." 

As Mr. Robbins says: "The completeness of the 
body of proof of the Ruddle authorship leaves nothing 
therefore to be desired." 

Parson John Ruddle eventually became prebend of 
Exeter, and held the vicarage of Altarnon along with 
that of Launceston to his death. 

Ruddle does not state that the boy Bligh was his 
pupil at Launceston Free School, but one does not see 
to what other school he can have gone, and the readi- 
ness with which the lad opened his heart to him leads 
to the notion that they had some previous acquaintance. 
His way to Launceston would be over the common, on 
which stand three barrows, to the road at Penfoot, where 
he would strike the road. When he endeavoured to 
avoid the ghost he took the Under Horse Road between 
Quarry Park and the Nursery. The Quarry is still 
visible with a pool in it, and a stream flowing into it 
that rises on the moor where he saw the ghost, and 
Under Horse Road still bears its name. The lad en- 
deavoured to take a short cut, though not as short as 
across the Higher Brown Quartils, to reach the 
Launceston road without having to go through South 
Petherwin village. 

Parson Ruddle does not give the Christian name of 
the boy who saw the ghost, and we are thrown into 
perplexity at once. 



THE BOTATHAN GHOST 8i 

The "ancient gentleman" may have been Thomas 
Bligh of Botathan, Esq., but he was aged no more 
than fifty-three. Colonel Vivian's pedigree of the 
Blighs in his Visitation of Cornwall is most unsatisfac- 
tory. 

Thomas Bligh was buried at South Petherwin, April 
loth, 1692. There is no entry in Vivian's pedigree of 
Walter Bligh, gentleman, who was buried January 29th, 
1667-8. Besides, there are many entries of an Edmund 
Bligh and Katherine, his wife, and their children. 
Thomas Bligh seems to have lived at one time at S. 
Martin's-by-Looe. Dr. Lee in his Glimpses of the 
Supernatural calls Dorothy Dingley, Dorothy Durant ; 
but on what authority I do not know. There is an 
entry in the South Petherwin register of the burial of 
Dorothy Durant, widow, ist May, 1677, butaccording to 
the story of the boy, Dorothy Dingley died in or about 
1657. Unfortunately the South Petherwin registers do 
not go back beyond August, 1656, but there is no entry in 
them in 1656 or 1657 of the burial of Dorothy Dingley. 

The Dingleys had been settled in Lezant and Linkin- 
horne from 1577, and owned the place Hall in the latter 
parish; but they had connections in Worcestershire; 
and Dorothy was the youngest daughter of Francis 
Dingley, baptized at Cropthorne, in the latter county, in 
1596. She married Richard, son of George Durant, of 
Blockly, Worcestershire. As no further trace of her 
can be found in the register there, it is not unfair to 
suppose that having kinsfolk in Cornwall she may have 
journeyed there, and both were buried at South Pether- 
win, Dorothy Durant, as already stated, in 1677. She 
was then aged eighty-seven. She cannot have been the 
ghost. But was the ghost that of her mother, a 
Dorothy, who came to South Petherwin with her, and 
died there about the year 1655 ? We cannot tell, as we 



82 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

do not know her mother's Christian name. Dr. Lee 
clearly confused the Dorothy Durant with the Dorothy 
Dingley, the ghost. 

The Rev. P. T. Pulman, vicar of South Petherwin, 
writes to me: "In December, 1896, a labourer died 
here, aged seventy-two. For upwards of forty years he 
had worked at Botathan. He told me that one of the 
fields was called the Higher Brown Park (he did not 
know the name of Quartells) until the field was ploughed 
up. He told me there was a little path in it which they 
called old Dorothy Dinglet's [sic] path, and that they 
used to frighten the farm apprentices with stories about 
her, but he had never met her himself. The farm has 
been sold of recent years. There is a part of the old 
house left used for a cider cellar. They call it Dorothy 
Dingley's chamber." 

The Rev. James Dingley was vicar of South Pether- 
win from 1682 until 1695. He was born 1655, just ten 
years before the apparition was seen by young Bligh. 

Authorities: A. Robbins, "A Cornish Ghost Story," 
in the Cornish Magazine, 1898 ; A. Robbins, Launces- 
ton Past and Present, 1889. The portrait of the Rev. 
John Ruddle is in my possession. The descendants of 
Parson Ruddle or Rudall are still on the land, but are 
in a humble condition. 



JOHN COUCH ADAMS, 
ASTRONOMER 

THOMAS ADAMS was a small tenant farmer 
in the parish of Laneast, at Lidcott, renting 
under John King Lethbridge, Esq., of Tre- 
geare, in Laneast. He married Tabitha 
Knill Grylls, of Stoke Climsland, who inherited a very 
little land in this latter parish. 

Laneast lies on the Inny River — that is to say, the 
village with its church occupies the southern slope of 
Laneast Down that falls to this beautiful stream. But 
Lidcott lies on the north side of the down, that rises to 
eight hundred feet above the sea, one long swelling 
mass of moor brown with heather, save when in August 
it blushes like a modest girl, the heather all a-rose with 
flower. 

For three miles the highway from Camelford to 
Launceston crosses this moor, one white strip drawn 
through a mass of umber. At night the sheep that 
grazed on the down would lie on the warm road, and 
many a time have the coach-horses stumbled over them 
in the night. 

On this road, about the year 546, S. Samson was pur- 
suing his way from Padstow, where he had landed, to 
Southill. He had with him a wagon drawn by horses 
he had brought with him from Ireland, and as he pro- 
ceeded over the down he was aware of music and 
dancing on the left-hand side of the road in the direc- 

83 



84 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

tion of Tregeare, and he found that the heathen people 
were having a festival about a rude upright stone. He 
stopped, harangued them, condemned their idolatrous 
practice, and with his own hand cut a cross upon the 
stone. 

It is possible that this is the very rude stone cross 
that still stands on the slope of the moor above Lidcott. 

John Couch, son of Thomas Adams and Tabitha, 
was born at Lidcott on 5th January, 1819, but no notice 
of his baptism occurs in the parish register at Laneast. 
Possibly he may have been taken to Egloskerry. 

He received his early education at a dame's school in 
his native parish ; but was early employed by his father 
to tend the sheep on Laneast Down. It was then and 
there, on that great upland stretch of moor, with a vast 
horizon about him, that, lying in the heather and look- 
ing up into the sky, the mystery of the heavenly firma- 
ment laid hold of him. He soon learned to distinguish 
the planets from the fixed stars ; he watched the rising 
and the setting of the constellations, Charles's Wain 
revolving nightly about the extremest star in what he 
called the tail of the Plough ; Orion with his twinkling 
belt and curved sword, " louting on one knee." 

To the west and south stood up against the evening 
glow the ridge of the Bodmin MoorSj Brown Willy, 
Rough Tor, Kilmar, and Caradon. To the north 
nothing interrupted the view, for there lay the vast 
Atlantic ; and on stormy nights the boom of its waves 
might be heard from that highway over the down. To 
the east and south-east the far-off range of Dartmoor, 
blue as a vein in a girl's temple, on a summer day. 

Many a chiding did John Couch get from his father 
for being out late at night upon the moor; the old 
farmer was unable to understand what the attraction 
was which drew the lad from home and from his supper. 




Prom the collection of Mrs. Lewis Lane 



JOHN COUCH ADAMS, ASTRONOMER 85 

to be out, either lying on the road or leaning against 
the old granite cross, star-gazing. Happily Mrs. Adams 
had a simple book on astronomy that had belonged to 
her father, and this her son Jack devoured, and now he 
began to understand something of the motions of the 
heavenly bodies. He established a sundial on the 
window-sill of the parlour, and constructed out of 
cardboard an apparatus for taking the altitude of the sun. 
His father, finding that his inclinations were not for 
farm work, sent him to study with a relative of his 
mother, the Rev. P. Couch Grylls, who had a school 
at Devonport, but later moved to Saltash. All his 
spare time John Couch spent in reading astronomical 
works, which he obtained from the library of the 
Mechanics' Institute ; he drew maps of constellations 
and computed celestial phenomena. A day long to be 
remembered by him as one of the happiest in his life 
was that in which he obtained a look through a tele- 
scope at the moon. "Why," he exclaimed, "they 
have Brown Willy and Rough Tor up there ! " 

His account of a solar eclipse viewed at Devonport 
through a small spyglass got into print in a London 
paper. After three weeks' watching he caught sight 
of Halley's Comet on i6th October, 1839. 

His father now with considerable effort arranged to 
send him to the University of Cambridge, and he 
entered S. John's College as a poor sizar in October, 
1839 ; he graduated as Senior Wrangler in 1843, and 
was first Smith's prizeman, and soon elected Fellow and 
appointed tutor of his college. 

At the age of twenty-two he was struck with the dis- 
turbance in the course of the planet Uranus, and he 
perceived that this must be due to the attraction pos- 
sessed by some other planet, as yet unseen and un- 
suspected, that produced these perturbations. How 



86 CORNISH . CHARACTERS 

this led to the discovery of the planet Neptune shall 
be told from the Reminiscences of Caroline Fox : — 

" 1847, October 7th. — Dined at Carclew, and spent a 
very interesting evening. We met Professor Adams, 
the Bullers, the Lord of the Isles, and others. Adams is 
a quiet-looking man, with a broad forehead, a mild face, 
and an amiable and expressive mouth. I sat by him at 
dinner, and by general and dainty approaches got at the 
subject on which one most wished to hear him speak. 
He began very blushingly, but went on to talk in most 
delightful fashion, with large and luminous simplicity, 
of some of the vast mathematical facts with which he is 
so conversant. The idea of the reversed method of 
reasoning, from an unknown to a known, with refer- 
ence to astronomical problems dawned on him when 
an undergraduate, with neither time nor mathematics 
to work it out. The opposite system had always before 
been adopted. He, in common with many others, 
conceived that there must be a planet to account for the 
disturbances of Uranus; and when he had time he set to 
work at the process, in deep, quiet faith that the fact was 
there, and that his hitherto untried mathematical path 
was the one which must reach it ; that there were no 
anomalies in the universe, but that, even here, and now, 
they could be explained and included in a higher law. 
The delight of working it out was far more than any 
notoriety could give, for his love of pure truth is evi- 
dently intense, an inward necessity, unaffected by all 
the penny trumpets of the world. Well, at length he 
fixed his point in space, and sent his mathematical 
evidence to Airy, the Astronomer Royal, who locked the 
papers up in his desk, partly from carelessness, partly 
from incredulity, for it seemed to him impossible that 
a man whose name was unknown to him should strike 
out a new path in mathematical science with any sue- 



JOHN COUCH ADAMS, ASTRONOMER 87 

cess. Moreover, his theory was, that if there were a 
planet, it would not be discovered for one hundred and 
sixty years; that is, until two revolutions of Uranus 
had been accomplished. Then came Leverrier's equally 
original, though many months younger, demonstra- 
tion ; Gull's immediate verification of it by observa- 
tion ; and then the other astronomers were all astir. 
Professor Adams speaks of those about whom the Eng- 
lish scientific world is so indignant in a spirit of Chris- 
tian philosophy, exactly in keeping with the mind of a 
man who has discovered a planet. He speaks with 
warmest admiration of Leverrier, specially of his ex- 
haustive method of making out the orbits of the comets, 
imagining and disproving all tracks but the right one — 
a work of infinite labour. If the observer could make 
out distinctly but a very small part of a comet's orbit, 
the mathematician would be able to prove what its 
course had been through all time. They enjoyed being 
a good deal together at the British Association Meet- 
ing at Oxford, though it was unfortunate for the inter- 
course of the fellow-workers that one could not speak 
French nor the other English. He had met with very 
little mathematical sympathy, except from Challis, of 
the Cambridge Observatory ; but when his result was 
announced there was noise enough and to spare. He 
was always fond of star-gazing and speculation, and is 
already on the watch for another planet. Burnard told 
us that when Professor Adams came from Cambridge 
to visit his relatives in Cornwall he was employed to 
sell sheep for his father at a fair. He is a most good 
son and neighbour, and watchful in the performance of 
small acts of thoughtful kindness." 

" 1863, July 2nd. — Have just returned from a visit to 
Professor Adams at Cambridge. He is so delightful 
in the intervals of business, enjoying all things, large 



88 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

and small, with a boyish zest. He showed and ex- 
plained the calculating machine (French, not Bab- 
bage's), which saves him much in time and brain, as it 
can multiply or divide ten figures accurately. We 
came upon an admirable portrait of him at S. John's 
College, before he accepted a Pembroke Fellowship and 
migrated thither." 

The first mention of the name of Adams as the dis- 
coverer of Neptune was by Sir John Herschel, in the 
AthencBum, on October 3rd, 1845. And a letter from 
Professor Challis to that journal on 17th October 
described in detail the transactions between Adams, 
Airy, and himself. Naturally enough the French were 
highly incensed at the notion that an obscure English- 
man had forestalled Leverrier in the discovery, and 
Airy himself was annoyed at his own negligence in 
not looking into the memoir by Adams, and took up the 
matter with some personal feeling. It was certainly 
startling to realize that the Astronomer Royal had had 
in his possession data that would have enabled the 
planet to be discovered nearly a year before Leverrier 
had, by a different course of argument and calculation, 
arrived at the conclusion that there existed a planet 
which was the disturbing element in the orbit of Uranus. 
As to Adams himself, he had not a particle of conceit 
and pride in him ; he did not care to have his name 
proclaimed as the discoverer. Forty years later, he 
said simply and characteristically that all he had wished 
for was that English astronomers to whom he had com- 
municated the result of his calculations, pointing out 
the precise spot in the sky where a planet was to be 
found, would have taken the trouble to turn their tele- 
scopes upon that point and discover the planet, so 
that England might have had the full credit of the 
discovery. 



EX- 


-IBRIS 


/ft /' 




JOHANNIS COVCH ADAMS 



JOHN COUCH ADAMS, ASTRONOMER 89 

His long - suppressed investigation was not laid 
before the Royal Astronomical Society till November 
13th, 1846. 

The publication, of course, stirred up much con- 
troversy, and the scientific virorld was divided into 
Adamite and anti-Adamite factions. 

Adams refused knighthood in 1847, and declined 
the office of Astronomer Royal on Airy's retirement in 
1881. 

John Couch had a brother, William Grylls, also a 
man of some eminence in the scientific world. He 
was born at Lidcott 12th February, 1836, and became 
Professor of Natural Philosophy and of Astronomy in 
King's College, London. 

I was wont, when at Cambridge, to meet John Couch 
Adams at Professor Challis', and also at the house of 
the Rev, Harvey Goodwin, afterwards Bishop of Carlisle. 
Professor Adams took some notice of me, as coming from 
his neighbourhood, though not on the Cornish side of 
the Tamar. He was a small man, as simple as a child in 
many things. Indeed, he struck me forcibly by his 
great modesty and sweetness of manner. He loved a 
joke, and would laugh heartily over the very smallest. 
He loved children, and would play with them in their 
little games with infinite zest. Professor Glaisher, 
whom I also knew, wrote of him: "Adams was a 
man of learning as well as a man of science. He was 
an omnivorous reader, and his memory was exact and 
retentive. There were few subjects upon which he was 
not possessed of accurate information. Botany, geology, 
history, and divinity, all had their share of his care and 
attention." 

He was always happy to return to his humble 
father's farm ; and after he was a noted man, on one of 
these occasions the old man sent him into Launceston 



go CORNISH CHARACTERS 

with a drove of sheep to sell them in the market. He 
complied cheerfully, but how he succeeded in selling 
them I have not heard. This is the incident alluded to 
by Caroline Fox given above. 

"The honours showered upon him," wrote Dr. 
Donald MacAlister, "left him as they found him — 
modest, gentle, and sincere." He was not a man who 
ever asserted himself. 

He married in 1863 Eliza, daughter of Haliday 
Bruce, of Dublin. He died of a sudden illness on 
January 21st, 1892, and was buried in S. Giles' Church- 
yard, Cambridge. 

Portraits were taken of him by Mogford in 1851, 
and by Herkomer in 1888 ; both are in the Combination- 
room of St. John's College, Cambridge. 

A biographical notice of him was prefixed by Pro- 
fessor Glaisher to his scientific works, edited by 
W. G. Adams, in 1896-8. 

See also A. De Morgan's Budget of Paradoxes , 1872, 
and the Mechanics' Magazine, 1846. 



DANIEL GUMB 

jA LL that is really known of this eccentric char- 
/% acter is found in a letter of J. B. to Richard 

/ — % Polwhele, dated September, 1814. His 
-^ -^- correspondent says : — 

" Daniel Gumb was born in the parish of Linkinhorne, 
in Cornwall, about the commencement of the last 
century, and was bred a stone-cutter. In the early 
part of his life he was remarkable for his love of read- 
ing and a degree of reserve even exceeding what is 
observable in persons of studious habits. By close 
application Daniel acquired, even in his youth, a con- 
siderable stock of mathematical knowledge, and, in 
consequence, became celebrated throughout the adjoin- 
ing parishes. Called by his occupation to hew blocks 
of granite on the neighbouring commons, and espe- 
cially in the vicinity of that great natural curiosity 
called the Cheesewring, he discovered near this spot 
an immense block, whose upper surface was an in- 
clined plane. This, it struck him, might be made the 
roof of a habitation such as he desired ; sufficiently 
secluded from the busy haunts of men to enable him to 
pursue his studies without interruption, whilst it was 
contiguous to the scene of his daily labour. Imme- 
diately Daniel went to work, and cautiously excavating 
the earth underneath, to nearly the extent of the stone 
above, he obtained a habitation which he thought 
sufficiently commodious. The sides he lined with 
stone, cemented with lime, whilst a chimney was made 

91 



92 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

by perforating the earth at one side of the roof. From 
the elevated spot on which stood this extraordinary 
dwelling could be seen Dartmoor and Exmoor on the 
east, Hartland on the north, the sea and the port of 
Plymouth on the south, and S. Austell and Bodmin Hills 
on the west, with all the intermediate beautiful scenery. 
The top of the rock which roofed his house served 
Daniel for an observatory, where at every favourable 
opportunity he watched the motions of the heavenly 
bodies, and on the surface of which, with his t:hisel, he 
carved a variety of diagrams, illustrative of the most 
difficult problems of Euclid, etc. These he left behind 
him as evidences of the patience and ingenuity with 
which he surmounted the obstacles that his station in 
life had placed in the way of his mental improvement. 

" But the choice of his house and the mode in which 
he pursued his studies were not his only eccentricities. 
His house became his chapel also ; and he was never 
known to descend from the craggy mountain on which 
it stood, to attend his parish church or any other place 
of worship. 

"Death, which alike seizes on the philosopher and 
the fool, at length found out the retreat of Daniel Gumb, 
and lodged him in a house more narrow than that which 
he had dug for himself." 

Bond in his Topographical and Historical Sketches of 
the Boroughs of East and West Looe, 1873, describes the 
habitation of Daniel Gumb as seen by him in 1802 : — 

"When we reached Cheesewring — our guide first 
led us to the house of Daniel Gumb (a stone-cutter), 
cut by him out of a solid rock of granite. This artificial 
cavern may be about twelve feet deep and not quite so 
broad ; the roof consists of one flat stone of many tons 
weight ; supported by the natural rock on one side, 
and by pillars of small stones on the other. How 



DANIEL GUMB 93 

Gumb formed this last support is not easily conceived. 
We entered with hesitation lest the covering should be 
our gravestone. On the right-hand side of the door 
is 'D. Gumb,' with a date engraved 1735 (or 3). On 
the upper part of the covering stone, channels are cut 
to carry off the rain, probably to cause it to fall into 
a bucket for his use ; there is also engraved on it some 
geometrical device formed by Gumb, as the guide told 
us, who also said that Gumb was accounted a pretty 
sensible man. I have no hesitation in saying he must 
have been a pretty eccentric character to have fixed on 
this place for his habitation ; but here he dwelt for 
several years with his wife and children, several of 
whom were born and died here. His calling was that 
of a stone-cutter, and he fixed himself on a spot where 
materials could be met with to employ a thousand men 
for a thousand years." 

The Rev. Robert S. Hawker wrote an account of 
Daniel Gumb for All the Year Round in 1866, and this 
has been reprinted in Footsteps of Former Men in 
Cornwall. 

He pretends that when he visited the Cheesewring 
in 183-, there still existed fragments of Daniel Gumb's 
" thoughts and studies still treasured up in the existing 
families of himself and his wife." And he gives 
transcripts from these, and also from what must have 
been a diary. But Mr. Hawker embroidered facts with 
so much detail drawn from his own fancy, that his state- 
ments have to be taken with a very large pinch of salt. 

It must be remembered, in his justification, that his 
stories of Cornish Characters were intended as maga- 
zine articles to amuse, but without any purpose of 
having them regarded as strictly biographical and his- 
torical. They were brief historical romances, and were 
not intended to be taken seriously. 



94 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

I will give but one quotation, and the reader can 
judge for himself therefrom whether it does not look 
like an extract "made in Morwenstow." Mr. Hawker 
says : — 

"On the fly-leaves of an old account book the 
following strange statement appears : 'June 23rd, 1764, 
To-day, at bright noon, I looked up and saw all at once 
a stranger standing on the turf, just above my block. 
He was dressed like an old picture I remember in the 
windows of S. Neot's Church, in a long brown garment, 
with a girdle ; and his head was uncovered and grizzled 
with long hair. He spoke to me, and he said in a low, 
clear vioce, " Daniel, that work is hard ! " I wondered 
that he should know my name, and I answered, "Yes, 
sir ; but I am used to it and don't mind it, for the sake 
of the faces at home." Then he said, sounding his 
words like a psalm, " Man goeth forth to his work and 
to his labour until the evening. When will it be night 
with Daniel Gumb ? " I began to feel queer ; it seemed 
to me that there was something awful about the un- 
known man. I even shook. Then he said again, 
" Fear nothing. The happiest man in all the earth is he 
that wins his daily bread by his daily sweat, if he will 
but fear God and do man no wrong." I bent down 
my head like any one dumbfounded, and I greatly 
wondered who this strange appearance could be. He 
was not like a preacher, for he looked me full in the 
face ; nor a bit like a parson, fqr he seemed very meek 
and kind. I began to think it was a spirit, only such 
ones always come by night, and here was I at noon- 
day and at work. So I made up my mind to drop my 
hammer and step up and ask his name right out. But 
when I looked up he was gone, and that clear out of 
my sight, on the bare, wide moor, suddenly.' " 

Now, in the first place, no trace or tidings of these 



DANIEL GUMB 95 

notes so treasured up by the family are to be found in 
the parish of Linkinhorne, to which Gumb and his wife 
belonged. 

In the second place, Mr. Hawker makes Daniel 
remark that his mysterious visitant was not like a 
Dissenting preacher because he looked him straight in 
the face, and this is significantly like a remark Hawker 
often made with regard to these gentry. 

Another of these pretended notes refers to the finding 
of a fossil fish embedded in granite. This alone 
suffices to wake suspicion that the extracts are not 
genuine. Fossils never have been found in granite, 
and never will be. But Hawker himself did not know 
this, as he was totally ignorant of the first principles 
of geology. 



LAURENCE BRADDON 

LAURENCE BRADDON, second son of Captain 
William Braddon, of Treworgy, in S. Gennys, 
J was called to the bar of the Middle Temple, 
•^ and worked at his profession diligently. He 
entered Parliament in 1651, but did not attract special 
notice till the occasion of the suicide of the Earl of 
Essex in the Tower, in 1683. 

The people of England had been, and still were, 
greatly troubled about the succession to the throne, in 
the event of the death of Charles II. They had no 
mind to have the throne occupied by a Popish prince, 
and several plots were hatched to prevent such a con- 
tingency. Monmouth, with Lord Essex, Shaftesbury, 
Lord Howard of Escrick, Russell, Algernon Sidney, 
and John Hampden, held meetings to found an associa- 
tion to agitate and compel the King to assemble Parlia- 
ment, to take measures to secure a Protestant succession 
and the exclusion of the Duke of York. On other 
points they disagreed. Monmouth hoped to have his 
legitimacy established and to secure the crown for his 
own brows. Sidney and Essex were for the establish- 
ment of a commonwealth. Russell and Hampden 
intended only the exclusion of the Duke. As to Lord 
Howard, he was a man of no principle, and his sole 
desire was to fish in troubled waters and get out of 
them what he could. 

More desperate spirits schemed plans of assassination, 
and a plot was formed for murdering Charles and the 

96 



LAURENCE BRADDON 97 

Duke of York as they passed the Rye House on the 
road from London to Newmarket, but there is no 
evidence that the noble schemers had any knowledge of 
the Rye House Plot. 

Both projects were betrayed, and though they were 
wholly distinct from one another, the cruel ingenuity of 
the Crown lawyers blended them into one. 

The Earl of Shaftesbury fled to the Continent ; 
Monmouth absconded ; Russell was committed to the 
Tower ; Howard, who had concealed himself in a 
chimney, was drawn forth by the heels, and to secure 
his neck betrayed Essex, Sidney, and Hampden, who 
were all committed to the Tower. 

Several of the conspirators in the Rye House Plot 
were sentenced to death and at once executed. From 
their confessions it appeared that the conspiracy had 
wide ramifications, and that a scheme of insurrection 
throughout the country had been formed, and that steps 
had been taken to organize it. 

On the day upon which Lord Russell was brought to 
trial the Earl of Essex was found in the closet of his 
chamber with his throat cut, and this but just after 
a visit to the Tower by the King with the Duke of 
York. 

An inquest was at once held, at which it was 
shown that Lord Essex was a man of a despondent 
temper, that he had been lately in a lugubrious 
mood, and in the depths of melancholy ; and evidence 
was conclusive that he had cut his own throat with 
a razor. The jury accordingly found a verdict of 
felo de se. 

Now it so fell out that on the following Sunday 
Laurence Braddon went to visit a Mr. Evans, of the Cus- 
tom House, at his country house at Wanstead, in Essex, 
where was also a Mr. Halstead, and Evans was telling 



98 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Halstead that he had heard from a kinsman of his 
named Edwards, also in the Customs, that his boy had 
been in the Tower yard on the morning of the death of 
Lord Essex, and that he had seen a hand thrust out of 
that nobleman's window, and a razor stained with blood 
thrown down on the pavement of the yard. Next 
moment a maid-servant wearing a white hood had 
run out, secured the razor and carried it within, and 
that he had heard cries from within of "Murder! 
Murder ! " 

Braddon listened, walking up and down the room, as 
Evans told this story. He was greatly excited by it, 
and thought that it pointed to a murder having been 
committed, and that probably at the instigation of the 
Duke of York. 

Accordingly Braddon went next day to the quay 
and got Evans and Edwards to meet him at the "Star " 
public-house and repeat the story. It seemed that 
Edwards had two boys who were in Merchant Taylors' 
School, and that one of their sisters was married and 
living in the Tower. On the morning of the death of 
Lord Essex the lads were on their way to school, when, 
passing the Tower, they heard that the King and the 
Duke of York were in it, whereupon the younger, an 
urchin of twelve or thirteen, gave his brother the slip, 
and ran in to see the King and the Duke. After they 
had departed he remained in the yard playing chuck- 
farthing with other boys, when he saw a hand thrust 
forth from a window and throw a bloody razor into the 
court, and after that a maid or woman in a white hood 
and stuff coat took it up and went in, and then he 
heard a noise as of " Murder ! " cried out. Braddon then 
went to the house of Edwards to question the boy, who 
prevaricated. Braddon believed that the child's mother 
and sister had been at him, telling him that he was 



LAURENCE BRADDON 99 

likely to get them all into trouble if he persisted in 
his tale, and urged by them, professed that he had told 
a lie. 

The matter became common talk on the quay and 
the purlieus of the Tower. 

Braddon had no great difSculty in finding a little 
girl named Jane Lodeman, aged thirteen, who was in 
the same tale. This is what he took down : — 

"Jane Lodeman was in the Tower on Friday morn- 
ing, 13th July last, and standing almost over against 
the late Earl of Essex's lodging window, she saw a 
hand cast a razor out of my lord's window, and 
immediately upon this she heard shrieks, and that 
there was a soldier by my lord's door, who cried out to 
those within the house that somebody should come 
and take up a razor which was thrown out of the 
window, whereupon there came a maid with a white 
hood out of the house, but who took up the razor she 
can't tell." 

Dated 8th August, 1683. 

On July 20th Braddon had gone to Whitehall before 
he had obtained this corroborative evidence, and had 
laid information before the King and Council, and pro- 
duced a written deposition as to what the boy Edwards 
had said he had seen ; but the boy's sister deposed 
that Mr. Laurence Braddon had forced her brother to 
sign it. Soon after Braddon had taken this step, he 
heard a rumour that the fact of the violent death of the 
Earl of Essex had been known and discussed in Frome 
Selwood the same day, and he hurried off to make 
inquiries into this. But on reaching Salisbury he was 
arrested, thrown into prison, and brought back to 
London. • Another gentleman, a Mr. Speeke, had also 
been spreading the report that Lord Essex had been 
foully murdered, and it was hinted that the Duke of 



loo CORNISH CHARACTERS 

York, if not the King, had ordered the assassination. 
Speeke also was arrested. 

Narcissus Luttrell's account of the death of Essex is 
as follows : — 

1683, 13th July. — "About nine in the morning, the 
Earl of Essex, prisoner in the Tower of London, 
upon account of this new plott, did most barbarously 
cut his own throat from one ear to the other with a 
razor. What occasioned it is doubtful! : some say, the 
sense of his guilt ; others, the shame for being accused 
of such a crime, when his father, the Lord Capell, died 
for his loyalty to the late King ; however, the coroner's 
jury have satt on his body, and found him felo de se, 
tho' some stick not to say 'tis impossible he should 
murther himself in so barbarous a manner ; and his 
Majesty hath been pleased to give his goods, which were 
forfeited by his killing himself, to his son." 

On November 6th he says: "Mr. Speak was brought 
to the Court of King's Bench, and charged with two 
informations : the ist, for saying the King was as great 
a Papist as the Duke of York ; that the Duke durst not 
doe what he did but that the King did animate him ; 
that what Pilkington had formerly said of the Duke of 
York was true ; with much other such scandalous stuff; 
and 2nd was for sayeing that the Earl of Essex was 
killed and murdered by those that attended on him in 
the Tower ; to both these he pleaded Not Guilty." 

1683-4, February 7th. — "Mr. Lawrence Braddon 
and Mr. Hugh Speke were tried at the Court of King's 
Bench, by a jury of Middlesex, upon an information 
reciting the commitment of the late Earl of Essex to 
the Tower for treason in conspiring the death of the 
King, etc., and that the 13th July last he cut his own 
throat, and was found felo de se by the coroner's in- 
quisition ; the said Braddon and Speke did conspire by 



LAURENCE BRADDON loi 

writing and otherwise, to spread a false and scandalous 
report, that the said Earl was murdered by some per- 
sons about him, and endeavoured to suborn witnesses to 
testifye the same. The evidence for the King, was first, 
the warder of the Tower, who testified as to his Lord- 
ship's commitment ; then the coroner, and the inquisi- 
tion taken before him, whereby his Lordship was found 
felo de se, was read ; then the particular evidence 
against Mr. Braddon was, by severall persons, how 
busy and sollicitous he was to take persons' informations, 
and to examine a little child about ten years old, about 
a discourse that ran through the town that a bloody 
razor was thrown out of his Lordship's window ; and 
that the cry of Murder was heard ; and that a servant 
maid came presently out of the house of the Lord of 
Essex, and took up the razor, and carried it in ; and that 
then it was said the Lord of Essex had killed himself. 
Then the severall informations Braddon had taken in 
writing relating to this matter were read, and some of 
the informants themselves examined, whose testimony 
much differ'd from their informations, then severall testi- 
fied the confident and strange discourse this Braddon 
frequently us'd concerning the matter. The evidence 
against Mr. Speke was only a letter writt by him to 
Sir Robert Atkins th' elder, and carried by Mr. Brad- 
don, but was seized about him when he was going 
thither, which contained severall expressions in com- 
mendation of Mr. Braddon and his zeale, with re- 
flexions on this matter ; then the evidence was given 
of his Lordship's cutting his own throat with a razor, 
which was proved by his own servant, a Frenchman ; 
by the warder, by the centinell, and by Capt. Hawley. 
The defendants' proof was, first, Braddon pretended he 
did nothing but out of zeale to have the truth come 
out : then he call'd some witnesses to prove that there 



I02 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

was a discourse of the Lord of Essex's being killed, 
and a razor thrown out, before he concern'd himself in 
it. Speke had little to say against the letter, but own'd 
it to be his hand ; so that the jury, after a little while, 
agreed of their verdict, and found the defendant 
Braddon guilty of all that was laid in the information, 
and the defendant Speke guilty of all except the con- 
spiring to suborn witnesses. 

" 'Twas strange any man should concern himself in 
an affair of this moment on the information of a boy 
ten years old, who had denied all after he had confess'd 
it, and did at his tryall, and make all this rent that was 
about it," 

April 2ist, 1684. — "Mr. Laurence Braddon and Mr. 
Hugh Speke, convicted last term upon an endeavour 
to lay the murder of the late Earl of Essex upon the 
Government, were brought to the Court of King's 
Bench to receive their judgments ; which was, that 
Braddon should pay a fine of ;£^2000, and Speke ;^iooo 
to the King ; that they find sureties for their good 
behaviour during their lives, and be committed to the 
King's Bench prison till they doe so." 

Hugh Speke, who was tried- along with Laurence 
Braddon, was an inveterate plotter. Macaulay thus 
describes him : " Hugh Speke (was) a young man of 
good family, but of a singularly base and depraved 
nature. His love of mischief and of dark and crooked 
ways amounted almost to madness. To cause confusion 
without being found out was his business and his pas- 
time ; and he had a rare skill in using honest enthu- 
siasts as the instruments of his cold-blooded malice." 

Referring to the case of Braddon, Macaulay adds : 
"He had attempted, by means of one of his puppets, 
to fasten on Charles and James the crime of murdering 
Essex in the Tower. On this occasion the agency of 



LAURENCE BRADDON 103 

Speke had been traced ; and though he succeeded in 
throwing the greater part of the blame on his dupe, he 
had not escaped with impunity." 

He was certainly a clever scoundrel, for he managed 
to cover up most of his traces in the affair of the 
charge of the murder of Essex. 

Braddon was sincere, while Speke was not. Braddon 
was convinced that a murder had been committed, and 
he had not a well-balanced mind to weigh evidence. 
Speke cared nothing whether crime had been commit- 
ted or not so long as he could disturb men's minds 
with a suspicion that one had been committed, and that 
by the King's brother and heir presumptive to the 
Crown. 

The evidence produced by Laurence Braddon was 
practically worthless. He had but the word of two 
little children, and the boy had retracted and acknow- 
ledged that he had told lies. As to the fact of the 
death of Lord Essex being known at Frome on the 13th, 
showing that the murder had been premeditated and 
was part of a widely ramified scheme of the Papists, it 
was shown that nothing was known there of it till many 
days later. 

The evidence for the King was Bomeny, the valet de 
chambre of Lord Essex. He stated that the Earl had 
long nails, and that morning had asked for a penknife 
so as to pare them. Bomeny had commissioned a foot- 
man, William Turner, to get one, and bring it along 
with some provisions ordered for the Earl's breakfast. 
Turner brought the provisions, but had forgotten 
about the penknife, whereupon Lord Essex began to 
cut his nails with his razor, and the footman was again 
despatched for a penknife. Just then the King and the 
Duke of York arrived at the Tower, and there was 
great bustle in the yard, and Bomeny left the Earl's 



I04 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

room. When he met the footman with the knife he 
returned, but not finding Lord Essex in his chamber, 
he tried to open the closet door, when he found that 
there was an obstruction. Somewhat alarmed, he ran 
to Russell, the warder, whose door was almost oppo- 
site on the same staircase, and both went to the closet, 
and found Lord Essex lying in it with his throat cut 
and his feet against the door. 

Russell corroborated this evidence, and added that 
no one could possibly ascend the stair and enter Lord 
Essex's chamber without his knowledge. The soldier, 
Lloyd, who acted as sentinel at the entrance to the 
Earl's quarters, testified that there was no truth in the 
children's tale about the razor, and that no maid had 
issued from the door to pick one up. 

It was further established that the closet window did 
not look into the main yard, and was so arranged that 
a hand could not be passed out of it. 

Judge Jeffreys conducted the investigation, and that 
in a most unseemly manner. Apparently he was drunk 
at the time, and was so confused that he was not able to 
follow the evidence. He browbeat the witnesses in 
the most offensive way. 

On November 6th, 1684, a French Protestant refugee, 
named Borleau, was indicted for selling a scandalous 
book called H Esprit de Monsieur Arnaud, in which he 
declared that the Earl of Essex had not cut his own 
throat, but had been foully murdered. He pleaded 
guilty, and the King graciously allowed him to be 
fined only 6s. 8d., and to be discharged without paying 
his fees. There was most certainly fish made of one 
and fowl of another. 

Again, in December of the same year a book ap- 
peared entitled An Enquiry about the Barbarous 
Murder of the Earl of Essex, that was vended surrepti- 



LAURENCE BRADDON 105 

tiously, and a broadside written by Colonel Danvers, 
giving the evidence that he was murdered, was thrown 
in at open doors and distributed in the streets of London. 
A hundred pounds was offered for the apprehension of 
Danvers. As to the book, it was from the pen of 
Laurence Braddon, and was later, when it could be 
done safely, acknowledged by him. On January 23rd, 
1684-5, a Mr. Henry Baker pleaded guilty to an infor- 
mation for using scandalous words about the Duke of 
York, and at the same time a printer, Norden, did the 
same to an indictment for publishing the " scandalous 
libell in vindication of the lord of Essex." And on 
February 3rd one of the jury at the inquest, Launcelot 
Colston by name, was had up before King's Bench on 
a charge of having said that he did not believe that the 
Earl had cut his throat, for he could not have done so 
himself in the way in which he was found. Norden 
was sentenced to pay 200 marks, and to stand in the 
pillory at Ratcliffe, and to be bound to his good be- 
haviour for seven years, and be committed to prison till 
this was done. 

In 1685, on the landing of the Duke of Monmouth, 
in the Proclamation he published, he charged King 
James with the murder of Essex, with his own hand. 

In January, 1689, a Captain Hawley, Major Whit- 
ley, and some two or three more were imprisoned 
for maintaining that Essex had not committed suicide. 
But this was at the moment when all power was slip- 
ping out of the hands of King James II ; the Prince of 
Orange came to the throne, and on February 23rd 
a Captain Holland was arrested and thrown into prison 
on the charge of having been concerned in the murder 
of the Earl, and this was followed by numerous other 
arrests. But the prison-doors were thrown open for 
Laurence Braddon to issue forth and recommence his 



io6 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

accusations of murder. He republished the " Enquiry 
into and Detection of the Barbarous Murther of the late 
Earl of Essex ; or a Vindication of that Noble Person 
from the Guilt and Infamy of having Destroyed 
himself." 

Even before the throne, vacated by King James, had 
been filled by the Prince of Orange, the Lords had 
appointed a committee to examine into the truth of the 
frightful stories circulated relative to the death of Essex, 
The committee, which consisted wholly of zealous 
Whigs, continued its inquiries till all reasonable men 
were convinced that he had fallen by his own hand, and 
till Lady Essex, his brother, and his most intimate 
friends requested that the investigation might be pur- 
sued no further. That under Judge Jeffreys had been 
open to suspicion, this could not. But nothing would 
alter the persuasion of Braddon that this was a case of 
murder. 

Next year, 1690, he came out with a fresh pamphlet, 
"Essex's Innocency and Honour Vindicated, or Mur- 
ther, Subornation, Perjury, and Oppression, justly 
charged on the Murtherers of that Noble and True 
Patriot Arthur (late) Earl of Essex," etc. 

It had become a matter of party feeling, and it was 
held by all true Protestants to be their duty to believe 
in the murder, so as to blacken the character of 
James II. The evidence, however, was too poor to 
convince a cool-minded man like Bishop Burnet, and 
in his History of His Own Times he spoke of Essex 
having cut his own throat. Thereupon Laurence 
Braddon resumed his pen and published an attack on 
the Bishop: "Bishop Burnet's History charged with 
great partiality and misrepresentations, to make the 
present and future ages believe that Arthur, Earl of 
Essex, in 1683, murdered himselfe, with observations 



LAURENCE BRADDON 107 

upon the suppos'd poysoning of King Charles the 
Second," 1724. 

In 1695 Braddon was appointed solicitor to the wine- 
licensing office, with a salary of ;^ioo per annum. 

In one point Braddon showed great perspicuity and 
good feeling. In 17 17 he published a pamphlet 
entitled "The Miseries of the Poor, a National Sin and 
Shame " ; and when his scheme for the relief of the poor 
had been animadverted upon unfavourably, in 1722, he 
answered these objections in another tractate : "Par- 
ticular answers to the most material objections made to 
the proposal humbly presented to His Majesty for 
relieving, reforming, and employing all the poor of 
Great Britain," 1722. 

Laurence Braddon died on Sunday, 29th November, 
1724. 

The Braddons must have been a family of some con- 
sequence in S. Gennys, although their arms and 
pedigree are not recorded in the Heralds' Visitations. 
At the trial of Laurence, it was stated that his father's 
income from his property was fully ;£'8oo per annum. 
Laurence derived his fiery Protestantism from his father, 
who had been a Parliamentarian officer of some distinc- 
tion in the Civil War. His father is buried in the 
chancel of S. Gennys, and some verses are inscribed 
on the ledgerstone, beginning : — 

In war and peace I bore command, 
Both gun and sword I wore. 

The arms borne by the family are : Sable, a bend 
lozengy, arg.- — arms that in their beautiful simplicity 
proclaim their antiquity. 

The old mansion of the Braddons in S. Gennys has 
been pulled down and a modern farm-house erected on 
the site. 



THOMASINE BONAVENTURA 

WEEK S. MARY stands in a treeless wind- 
swept situation, 530 feet above the sea, near 
the source of two small streams rising in 
the desolate downs to the south, which 
unite their waters at Langford, and have sawn for 
themselves deep clefts that are well wooded. At a 
remote period this district must have been the scene 
of contests, for it is studded with earthworks. There 
was a castle at Week, but camps also crowning a height 
in Westwood and in Swannacott Wood ; and Week 
S. Mary with its castle stood aloft, defended by one of 
these on each side. Formerly there was not so much 
enclosed land as there is at present ; but it was pre- 
cisely the moorland that extended over so large a 
portion of the parish that constituted its wealth, for on 
this waste pastured vast flocks of sheep, whose fleeces 
were in request at a time when wool was the staple 
industry in the West of England. 

The ridge of bare, uplifted, carboniferous rock and 
clay, cold and bleak, was formerly scantily provided 
with roads, and with homesteads few and far between ; 
and to guide the traveller through the waste, cer- 
tain churches with lofty towers were erected on 
high ground — Pancrasweek, Holsworthy, Bridgerule, 
Week S. Mary — to enable him to make his way across 
country from one to the other. A farm or a manor- 
house nestled in a combe, sheltered from the wind, 
from the sea, and the driving rain ; but farmer and 

108 



THOMASINE BONAVENTURA 109 

squire drew their wealth from the sheep on the uplands, 
which were moreover strewn, as they still are, with 
barrows, under which lie the dead of the Bronze and 
Stone ages. 

Davies Gilbert absurdly derives the name of the 
place from the Cornish, and makes it signify "sweet." 
No more unsuitable epithet could have been applied. 
It signifies v-wus, a village or hamlet, and is found also 
at Pancrasweek, Germansweek, and elsewhere. 

In the village are still to be seen the remains of the 
old school and chantry founded by Thomasine Bona- 
ventura, a shepherd girl, native of the place, whose 
story is told by Carew and by Hall ; and from them 
we take it. 

Thomasine was born about the year 1450, in the 
reign of Henry VI, and her father was a small farmer 
who had his flock of sheep pasturing on the wild waste 
common-lands. Thomasine watched it, and spun from 
her distaff. Above the desolate moors to the south- 
west Stood up blue against the sky the rugged height 
of Brown Willy, crowned by its mighty cairns ; to the 
west and south-west stretched the Atlantic, into which 
the evening sun went down in a blaze of glory. 

One day a London merchant, a dealer in wool, came 
riding over the moor ; probably from Tintagel or 
Forrabury, and making direct for Week S. Mary tower, 
when he passed a barrow on which sat the shepherd 
girl spinning, the breeze from the sea blowing her 
dark hair about, singing some old ballad, but ever 
keeping her eye on her father's sheep. Behind him 
trailed a line of horses laden with the packs of wool 
that he had purchased, led by his men. He halted to 
speak to the girl, probably to learn from her where he 
might best ford the stream in the valley below. She 
answered, and he was pleased with her intelligence, 



no CORNISH CHARACTERS 

and not less with her beauty. He inquired who she 
was, what was her name, and what the circumstances 
of her parents. To all these questions she gave prompt 
and direct answers. Then, still more taken with her, 
he asked Thomasine whether she would accompany 
him to London, to be servant to his wife, and he offered 
her good wages and kind treatment. She replied, with 
caution, that she was under the guardianship of her 
father and mother, and that she could not accept his 
proposal without their consent. 

Thereupon the merchant rode on, and upon reach- 
ing Week S. Mary inquired for the house of 
the parents of Thomasine and laid his offer before 
them. When they hesitated, he referred them to 
his customers. 

The parents, no doubt, were highly elated at being 
able to get their daughter into a situation in London, 
where all the streets were paved with gold. But it 
may well be doubted whether they dreamt of what was 
in store for her. 

So she parted from her parents, certainly with many 
tears on her part, and earnest injunctions from father 
and mother to conduct herself in a modest and obedient 
manner. 

Now these wool merchants and clothiers were men 
of mighty repute and good substance in the land. In 
Thomas Deloney's delightful Pleasant Historie of 
Thomas of Readings 1600, we read : " Among all crafts 
this was the onely chiefe, for that it was the chiefest 
merchandize, by the which our Country became famous 
throwout all Nations. And it was verily thought that 
the one halfe of the people in the land lived in those 
dayes thereby, and in such good sort, that in the 
Commonwealth there were few or no beggars at all : 
poore people, whom God lightly blessed with most chil- 



THOMASINE BONAVENTURA in 

dren, did by meanes of this occupation so order them, 
that by the time that they were come to be sixe or 
seven yeares of age, they were able to get their owne 
bread, Idlenesse was then banished our coast, so that 
it was a rare thing to heare of a thiefe in those dayes. 
Therefore it was not without cause that Clothiers were 
then both honoured and loved." 

Doubtless so soon as the merchant reached Launces- 
ton he placed all the wool he purchased on carts, to 
convey it to town through Exeter. Deloney tells an 
amusing story of how King Henry was riding forth 
west with one of his sons and some of his nobility, 
when "he met with a great number of waines loaden 
with cloth coming to London, and seeing them still 
drive one after another so many together, demanded 
whose they were. The wainemen answered in this 
sort : Coles of Reading, quoth they. Then, by and by, 
the King asked another, saying : Whose cloth is all 
this? Old Coles, quoth he. And againe anon after 
he asked the same questions to others, and still they 
answered. Old Coles. And it is to be remembered that 
the King met them in such a place so narrow and 
streight, that hee with the rest of his traine were faine 
to stand as close to the hedge, whilest the carts passed 
by, the which at that time being in number above two 
hundred, was neere hand an hour ere the King could 
get room to be gone ; so that by his long stay, he 
began to be displeased, although the admiration of that 
sight did much qualify his furie ; but breaking out in 
discontent, by reason of his stay, he said, I thought 
Old Cole had got a commission for all the carts in the 
country to carry his cloth. And how if he have (quoth 
one of the wainemen) doth that grieve you, good Sir? 
Yes, good Sir, said our King. What say you to that? 
The fellow, seeing the King (in asking the question) 



112 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

to bend his browes, though he knew not what he was, 
yet being abasht, he answered thus : Why, Sir, if you be 
angry, nobody can hinder you ; for possibly, Sir, you 
have anger at commandment. The King, seeing him 
in uttering of his words to quiver and quake, laughed 
heartily at him . . . and by the time he came within a 
mile of Staines, he met another company of waines, 
in like sort laden with cloth, whereby the King was 
driven into a further admiration ; and demanding 
whose they were, answere was made in this sort : They 
bee goodman Sutton's of Salisbury, good Sir. And by 
that time a score of them were past ; he asked againe, 
saying. Whose are these ? Sutton's of Salisbury, quoth 
they, and so still, so often as the King asked that ques- 
tion, they answered, Sutton's of Salisbury. God send 
me such more Suttons, said the King. And thus the 
further he travelled westward, more waines and more 
he met continually : upon which occasion he said to his 
nobles, that it would never grieve a King to die for 
the defence of a fertile country and faithful subjects, 
I alwayes thought (quoth he) that England's valor was 
more than her wealth, yet now I see her wealth sufficient 
to maintaine her valour, which I will seek to cherish 
in all I may, and with my sword keepe myselfe in pos- 
session of that I have." 

Judging by what Deloney says, these clothiers were 
a merry set, and the journey to town was one long 
picnic. They were — or some were — of good family. 
Grey, the clothier of Gloucester, was of the noble race 
of Grey de Ruthyn, and FitzAUen, of Worcester, 
came of the Fitzallens, "that famous family whose 
patrimony lay about the town of Oswestrie, which 
towne his predecessors had inclosed with stately walls 
of stone." 

The most famous wool merchant in the West was 



THOMASINE BONAVENTURA 113 

Tom Dove, of Exeter, concerning whom this song 
was sung : — 

Welcome to town, Tom Dove, Tom Dove, 

The merriest man alive. 
Thy company still we love, we love, 

God grant thee well to thrive. 
And never will we depart from thee. 

For better, for worse, my joy ! 
For thou shalt still have our good will, 

God's blessing on my sweet boy I 

In London Thomasine comported herself well, was 
cheerful and obliging. How the mercer's wife relished 
her introduction into the house we are not informed. 
But this good lady shortly after sickened and died, and 
the widower offered Thomasine his hand and his heart, 
which she accepted. 

After three years Richard Bunsby, the mercer, died 
and left all he had to Thomasine, so that she, who had 
gone up to town as a serving girl, was now a rich 
widow, and withal young and pretty and attractive. 
She soon drew suitors about her, and her choice fell 
on "that worshipful merchant adventurer. Master John 
Gall, of S. Lawrence, Milk Street." He as well was 
wealthy and uxorious, and he allowed his wife to 
make donations for the relief of the poor of her native 
village, for which she ever retained a lingering attach- 
ment. 

After the lapse of five years Thomasine was again 
a widow, and her second husband had followed the 
example of the first in leaving to her all his posses- 
sions. 

She had not to wait long before fresh suitors buzzed 
about her like flies around a treacle barrel, and now, in 
the year 1497, she gave her hand to Sir John Percival, 
who in the following year became Lord Mayor of 
London. In memory of this event, she is tradition- 



114 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

ally held to have constructed a good road — as good 
roads went in those days — from Week S. Mary down 
to the coast, probably that over Week ford and 
through Poundstock, to either Wansum or Melhuc 
Mouth. 

She long survived her third husband, and is supposed 
to have returned to end her days as the Lady Bountiful 
in her native village. By her will, made in 1510, she 
left goodly sums of money to Week S. Mary. 

But both she and Sir John Percival had been already 
benefactors in London. Sir John had founded a 
chantry in S. Mary Woolnoth, and in 1539 is found an 
entry in the churchwardens' accounts of that parish 
recording that Dame Thomasine Percival had left 
money for the maintenance of the " heme light" in the 
church, i.e. the lamp before the rood. She had also 
left money to supply candles to burn about the sepul- 
chre in the church on Easter Day, and he had be- 
queathed moneys for the repair of the ornaments of the 
church, for bell-ringing, for singers "for keeping the 
anthem," at his and her obits, and last but not least, 
"for a potation to the neighbours at the said obit." 

Carew says: "And to show that virtue as well bare a 
part in the desert, as fortune in the means of her pre- 
ferment, she employed the whole residue of her life and 
last widowhood to works no less bountiful than charit- 
able, namely, repairing of highways, building of 
bridges, endowing of maidens, relieving of prisoners, 
feeding and apparelling the poor, etc. Among the 
rest, at this S. Mary Wike she founded a chantry and 
free-school, together with fair lodgings for the school- 
masters, scholars, and officers, and added ;^20 of yearly 
revenue for supporting the incident charges : wherein, 
as the bent of her desire was holy, so God blessed the 
same with all wished success ; for divers of the best 



THOMASINE BONAVENTURA 115 

gentlemen's sons of Devon and Cornwall were there 
virtuously trained up, in both kinds of divine and 
human learning, under one Cholwel, an honest and 
religious teacher, which caused the neighbours so much 
the rather and the more to rue, that a petty smack only 
of Popery opened the gap to the oppression of the 
whole, by the statute made in Edward VI's reign, 
touching the suppression of chantries." 

This disaster befell it in 1550, when all colleges, 
chantries, free chapels, fraternities, and guilds through- 
out the kingdom, with their lands and endowments, 
were alienated to the King — not because there was 
a " petty smack of Popery" in them, but because of 
the rapacity of the courtiers who desired to gather the 
lands and benefactions into their own soiled hands. 

Mr. W. H. Tregellas says: "There are still to be 
seen in the remote and quiet little village of Week 
S. Mary, some five or six miles south of Bude, in the 
northern corner of Cornwall, the substantial remains 
of the good Thomasine's college and chantry, which 
she founded for the instruction of the youth of her 
native place. 

" The buildings lie about a hundred yards east of 
the church (from the summit of whose grotesquely 
ornamented tower six-and-twenty parish churches may 
be discerned), and built into the modern wall of a 
cottage which stands inside the battlemented enclosure 
is a large carved granite stone (evidently one of two 
which once formed the tympanum of a doorway), on 
which the letter T stands out in bold relief. Probably 
it is the initial of the Christian name of our Thomasine ; 
at any rate, it is pleasant to think it may be such." 

The church and its stately tower were probably built 
by Thomasine, or, at all events, she would have largely 
contributed towards the building. That church is now, 



ii6 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

internally, a ghastly sight. At its "restoration" it 
was gutted, and is as bare as a railway station — a 
shell, and nothing more. But that it was not so in 
Dame Thomasine's time we may be well assured. A 
gorgeous screen extended across its nave and aisles, 
richly sculptured and coloured and gilt, the windows 
were filled with stained glass, and the bench ends 
were of carved oak. All this has been swept away. 

In the Stratton churchwardens' accounts for 15 13 
we find that on the _ day upon which "My Lady 
Parcyvale's Meneday" came round — i.e. the day on 
which her death was called to mind — prayer was to be 
made for the repose of her soul, and two shillings and 
two pence paid to two priests, and for bread and ale. 



THE MURDER OF NEVILL NORWAY 

MR. NEVILL NORWAY was a timber 
and general merchant, residing at Wade- 
bridge. He was the second son of 
William Norway, of Court Place, Eglos- 
hayle, who died in 1819, and Nevill was baptized at 
Egloshayle Church on November 5th, 1801. 

In the course of his business he travelled about the 
country and especially attended markets, and he went 
to one at Bodmin on the 8th of February, 1840, on horse- 
back. 

About four o'clock in the afternoon he was transact- 
ing some little affair in the market-place, and had his 
purse in his hand, opened it and turned out some gold 
and silver, and from the sum picked out what he 
wanted and paid the man with whom he was doing 
business. Standing close by and watching him was a 
young man named William Lightfoot, who lived at 
Burlorn, in Egloshayle, and whom he knew well 
enough by sight. 

Mr. Norway did not leave Bodmin till shortly before 
ten o'clock, and he had got about nine miles to ride 
before he would reach his house. The road was lonely 
and led past the Dunmeer Woods and that of Pen- 
carrow. 

He was riding a grey horse, and he had a com- 
panion, who proceeded with him along the road for 
three miles and then took his leave and branched off 
in another direction. 

117 



ii8 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

A farmer returning from market somewhat later to 
Wadebridge saw a grey horse in the road, saddled and 
bridled, but without a rider. He tried at first to over- 
take it, but the horse struck into a gallop and he gave 
up the chase ; his curiosity was, however, excited, and 
upon meeting some men on the road, and making in- 
quiry, they told him that they thought that the grey 
horse that had just gone by them belonged to Mr. 
Norway. This induced him to call at the house of that 
gentleman, and he found the grey steed standing at the 
stable gate. The servants were called out, and spots 
of blood were found upon the saddle. A surgeon was 
immediately summoned, and two of the domestics 
sallied forth on the Bodmin road, in quest of their 
master. The search was not successful that night, but 
later, one of the searchers perceiving something white in 
the little stream of water that runs beside the highway 
and enters the river Allen at Pendavey Bridge, they 
examined it, and found the body of their unfortunate 
master, lying on his back in the stream, with his feet 
towards the road, and what they had seen glimmering 
in the uncertain light was his shirt frill. He was quite 
dead. 

The body was at once placed on the horse and conveyed 
home, where the surgeon, named Tickell, proceeded 
to examine it. He found that the deceased had received 
injuries about the face and head, produced by heavy 
and repeated blows from some blunt instrument, which 
had undoubtedly been the cause of death. A wound 
was discovered under the chin, into which it appeared 
as if some powder had been carried ; and the bones of 
the nose, the forehead, the left side of the head and the 
back of the skull were frightfully fractured. 

An immediate examination of the spot ensued when 
the body had been found, and on the left-hand side of 




KEVILL NORWAY 
Front a painting in the possession of Miss A. T. Norway 



THE MURDER OF NEVILL NORWAY 119 
the road was seen a pool of blood, from which to the 
rivulet opposite was a tract produced by the drawing 
of a heavy body across the way, and footsteps were ob- 
served as of more than one person in the mud, and it 
was further noticed that the boots of those there im- 
pressed must have been heavy. There had apparently 
been a desperate scuffle before Mr. Norway had been 
killed. 

There was further evidence. Two sets of footmarks 
could be traced of men pacing up and down behind a 
hedge in an orchard attached to an uninhabited house 
hard by ; apparently men on the watch for their in- 
tended victim. 

At a short distance from the pool of blood was found 
the hammer of a pistol that had been but recently 
broken off. 

Upon the pockets of the deceased being examined, it 
became obvious that robbery had been the object of 
the attack made upon him, for his purse and a tablet 
and bunch of keys had been carried off. 

Every exertion was made to discover the perpetrators 
of the crime, and large rewards were offered for evi- 
dence that should tend to point them out. Jackson, a 
constable from London, was sent for, and mainly by 
his exertions the murderers were tracked down. A 
man named Harris, a shoemaker, deposed that he had 
seen the two brothers, James and William Lightfoot, of 
Burlorn, in Egloshayle, loitering about the deserted 
cottage late at night after the Bodmin fair; and a man 
named Ayres, who lived next door to James Lightfoot, 
stated that he had heard his neighbour enter his cottage 
at a very late hour on the night in question, and say 
something to his wife and child, upon which they 
began to weep. What he had said he could not hear, 
though the partition between the cottages was thin. 



I20 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

This led to an examination of the house of James 
Lightfoot on February 14th, when a pistol was found, 
without a lock, concealed in a hole in a beam that ran 
across the ceiling. As the manner of Lightfoot was 
suspicious, he was taken into custody. 

On the 17th his brother William was arrested in 
consequence of a remark to a man named Vercoe that 
he was in it as well as James. He was examined before 
a magistrate, and made the following confession : — 

"I went to Bodmin last Saturday week, the 8th 
instant, and on returning I met my brother James just 
at the head of Dunmeer Hill. It was just come dim- 
like. My brother had been to Burlorn, Egloshayle, to 
buy potatoes. Something had been said about meet- 
ing ; but I was not certain about that. My brother 
was not in Bodmin on that day. Mr. Vercoe overtook 
us between Mount Charles Turnpike Gate at the top of 
Dunmeer Hill and a place called Lane End. We came 
on the turnpike road all the way till we came to the 
house near the spot where the murder was committed. 
We did not go into the house, but hid ourselves in a 
field. My brother knocked Mr. Norway down ; he 
snapped a pistol at him twice, and it did not go off. 
Then he knocked him down with the pistol. He was 
struck whilst on horseback. It was on the turnpike 
road between Pencarrow Mill and the directing-post 
towards Wadebridge. I cannot say at what time of 
the night it was. We left the body in the water on the 
left side of the road coming to Wadebridge. We took 
money in a purse, but I do not know how much it was. 
It was a brownish purse. There were some papers, 
which my brother took and pitched away in a field on 
the left-hand side of the road, into some browse or furze. 
The purse was hid by me in my garden, and afterwards 
I threw it over Pendavey Bridge, My brother drew 



THE MURDER OF NEVILL NORWAY 121 

the body across the road to the water. We did not 
know whom we stopped till when my brother snapped 
the pistol at him. Mr. Norway said, ' I know what you 
are about. I see you.' We went home across the 
fields. We were not disturbed by any one. The pistol 
belonged to my brother. I don't know whether it was 
broken ; I never saw it afterwards ; and I do not know 
what became of it. I don't know whether it was soiled 
with blood. I did not see any blood on my brother's 
clothes. We returned together, crossing the river at 
Pendavey Bridge and the Treraren fields to Burlorn 
village. My brother then went to his house and I to 
mine. I think it was handy about eleven o'clock. I 
saw my brother again on the Sunday morning. He 
came to my house. There was nobody there but my 
own family. He said, * Dear me, Mr. Norway is killed.' 
I did not make any reply." 

The prisoner upon this was remanded to Bodmin 
gaol, where his brother was already confined, and on 
the way he pointed out the furze bush in which the 
tablet and the keys of the deceased were to be found. 
James Lightfoot, in the meantime, had also made a 
confession, in which he threw the guilt of the murder 
upon his brother William. 

This latter, when in prison, admitted that his confes- 
sion had not been altogether true. He and his brother 
had met by appointment, with full purpose to rob the 
Rev. W. Molesworth, of S. Breock, returning from 
Bodmin market, and when James had snapped his 
pistol twice at Mr. Norway, he, William, had struck 
him with a stick on the back of his head and felled 
him from his horse, whereupon James had battered his 
head and face with the pistol. 

The two wretched men were tried at Bodmin on 
March 30th, 1840, before Mr. Justice Coltman, and the 



122 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

jury returned a verdict of "Guilty " ; they were accord- 
ingly both sentenced to death, and received the 
sentence with great stolidity. 

Up to this time the brothers had been allowed no 
opportunity for communication, and the discrepancy in 
their stories distinctly enough showed that the object 
of each was to screen himself and to secure the convic- 
tion of the other. 

After the passing of the sentence on them, they were 
conveyed to the same cell, and were now, for the first 
time, allowed to approach each other. They had 
scarcely met before, in the most hardened manner, they 
broke out into mutual recrimination, using the most 
horrible and abusive language of each other, and, 
not content with this, they flew at each other's throat, 
so that the gaolers were obliged to interfere and separate 
them and confine them in separate apartments. 

On April 7th their families were admitted to bid them 
farewell, and the scene was most distressing. On 
Monday morning, April 13th, they were both executed, 
and it was said that upwards of ten thousand persons 
had assembled to witness their end. 

As Mr. Norway's family was left in most straitened 
circumstances, a collection was made for them in Corn- 
wall, and the sum of ;^3500 was raised on their behalf. 

William Lightfoot was aged thirty-six and James 
thirty-three when hanged at Bodmin. 

There is a monument to the memory of Mr. Norway 
in Egloshayle Church. 

In the Cornwall Gazette, 17th April, 1840, the 
portraits of the murderers were given. Mention is 
made of the tragedy in C. Carlyon's Early Years, 1843. 
He gives the following story. At the time of the 
murder, Edmund Norway, the brother of Nevill, was in 
command of a merchant vessel, the Orient, on his 



THE MURDER OF NEVILL NORWAY 123 

voyage from Manilla to Cadiz. He wrote on the same 
day as the murder : — 

" Ship Orient, from Manilla to Cadiz, 

"Feb. 8th, 1840. 

"About 7.30 p.m. the island of S. Helena, N.N.W., 
distant about seven miles, shortened sail and rounded 
to, with the ship's head to the eastward ; at eight, set 
the watch and went below — wrote a letter to my brother, 
Nevell Norway. About twenty minutes or a quarter 
before ten o'clock went to bed — fell asleep, and dreamt 
I saw two men attack my brother and murder him. 
One caught the horse by the bridle and snapped a 
pistol twice, but I heard no report ; he then struck him 
a blow, and he fell off the horse. They struck him 
several blows, and dragged him by the shoulders 
across the road and left him. In my dream there was 
a house on the left-hand side of the road. At five o'clock 
I was called, and went on deck to take charge of the 
ship. I told the second officer, Mr. Henry Wren, that 
I had had a dreadful dream, and dreamt that my 
brother Nevell was murdered by two men on the road 
from S. Columb to Wadebridge ; but I was sure it 
could not be there, as the house there would have been 
on the right-hand side of the road, but it must have 
been somewhere else. He replied, ' Don't think any- 
thing about it ; you West-country people are super- 
stitious ; you will make yourself miserable the re- 
mainder of the passage. He then left the general 
orders and went below. It was one continued dream 
from the time I fell asleep until I was called, at five 
o'clock in the morning. 

"Edmund Norway, 

"Chief Officer, Ship Or?e«/f." 

There are some difficulties about this account. It is 



124 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

dated, as may be seen, February 8th, but it must have 
been written on February gth, after Mr. Norway had 
had the dream, and the date must refer to the letter 
written to his brother and to the dream, and not to the 
time when the account was penned. 

From the Cape of Good Hope to S. Helena the 
course would be about N.N.W., and with a fair wind 
the ship would cover about eighty or ninety miles in 
eight hours. So that at noon of the day February 
8th she would be about one hundred miles S.S.E. of 
S. Helena, i.e. in about 5° W. longitude, as nearly 
as possible. The ship's clock would then be set, and 
they would keep that time for letter-writing purposes, 
meals, ship routine, etc. 

Ship, long. . . 5° o' o" W. 

Bodmin ,, . . . 4° 40' o" W. 

Difference . 20' o" 

The difference would be twenty minutes of longitude, 
and the difference in time between the two places one 
degree apart is four minutes. Reduce this to seconds : — 

4 X 60 X 30 



60 



80 sec, i.e. i min. 20 sec. 



Therefore, if the murder was committed, say, at 
10 h. 30 m. p.m. Bodmin time, the time on the ship's 
clock would be loh. 28m. 40s. p.m. An inconsiderable 
difference. 

The log-book of Edmund Norway is said to be still in 
existence. 

One very remarkable point deserves notice. In his 
dream Mr. Edmund Norway saw the house on the right 
hand of the road, and as he remembered, on waking, that 
the cottage was on the left hand, he consoled himself 
with the thought that if the dream was incorrect in one 



THE MURDER OF NEVILL NORWAY 125 

point it might be in the whole. But he was unaware 
that during his absence from England the road from 
Bodmin to Wadebridge had been altered, and that it 
had been carried so that the position of the house was 
precisely as he saw it in his dream, and the reverse of 
what he had remembered it to be. 

Another point to be mentioned is that one of the 
murderers wore on that occasion a coat which Mr. 
Norway had given him a few weeks before, out of 
charity. 

Both brothers protested that they had not purposed 
the murder of Mr. Norway but of the Rev. Mr. Moles- 
worth, parson of S. Breock, who they supposed was 
returning with tithe in his pocket. This, however, did 
not agree with the evidence that William Lightfoot had 
watched him counting his money at Bodmin, and then 
had made off. 

On the occasion of the discovery of the murder. Sir 
William Molesworth sent his bloodhounds to track the 
murderers, but because they ran in a direction opposed 
to that which the constables supposed was the right 
one they were recalled. The hounds were right, the 
constables wrong. 



SIR WILLIAM LOWER, KNT. 

SIR WILLIAM LOWER was the only son 
of John Lower, and was born at TremerCj in 
S. Tudy, about the year 1600. 
The Lowers were a very ancient family in 
Cornwall, seated in S. Winnow parish, and at Clifton, 
in Landulph, at which latter place lived Sir Nicholas 
Lower, the brother of John, whilst the eldest brother. Sir 
William, settled at Treventy, in Carmarthen, having 
married the daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thomas 
Pescott, of that place. John had two other brothers 
knights. Sir Francis and Sir Thomas. 

William was not educated at Oxford, but, as Wood 
says, "spent some time in Oxon, in the condition of 
hospes, for the sake of the public library and scholastical 
company." He exhibited a "gay fancy," and a mighty 
aversion from the dry and crabbed studies of logic arid 
philosophy. 

Leaving Oxford, he spent some time in France, where 
he became a master of the French tongue, and acquired 
a great admiration for the dramatic compositions of 
Corneille, Quirault, and Ceriziers, and in after years 
amused himself with translating some of their plays. 

When the troubles broke out in England he took 
the King's side, and in 1640 was a lieutenant in Sir 
Jacob Ashley's regiment in Northumberland's army 
against the Scotch Covenanters, and was then ap- 
pointed captain, but lost his company, that proved 
mutinous and deserted. " It was a marvellous thing," 

126 




' 7 J ^^ p^/7,/1^7:- 



SIR WILLIAM LOWER, KNT. 127 

says a writer of the time, "to observe the averseness 
of the common soldiers to this war. Though com- 
manders and gentlemen of great quality, in pure 
obedience to the King, seemed not at all to dispute 
the cause or consequence of this war, the common 
soldiers would not be satisfied, questioning, in a 
mutinous manner, whether their captains were papists 
or not, and in many places were not appeased till 
they saw them receive the sacrament; laying violent 
hands on divers of their commanders, and killing 
some, uttering in bold speeches their distaste of 
the cause, to the astonishment of many, that common 
people should be sensible of public interest and religion, 
when lords and gentlemen seemed not to be." 

In June, 1644, being a lieutenant-colonel in Thomas 
Blague's regiment and lieutenant-governor of Walling- 
ford. Lower received orders from the King to raise £$0 
a week from the town of Reading. Lower at once laid 
hands on the mayor and carried him to Wallingford as 
a hostage ; he then plied the corporation with demands 
for the money, without which their head would not be 
restored to them. The corporation, however, did not 
value their mayor so highly that they were disposed to 
pay ;^5o per week for the privilege of having him re- 
stored to them. Lower was taken prisoner by the 
garrison of Abingdon on 19th January, 1645-6, and 
Charles rewarded him for his zeal by conferring on him 
knighthood. 

He remained in England for nearly ten more years 
and saw the ruin of the Royal cause, which he did 
care for, and of the Church, for which he cared not 
a rush. In 1655 he quitted England and went to 
Cologne, which was full of refugees, and there he was 
cheered with the tidings that Oliver Cromwell was 
failing in health and had not long to live. Leaving 



128 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Cologne, after a brief residence there, he "took 
sanctuary in Holland, where in peace and privacy he 
enjoyed the society of the Muses," says Langhorn. 

His The Phoenix in Her Flames, a tragedy in four 
acts, had been published in 1639. The Innocent Lady, 
or the Illustrious Innocence, translated from the French 
of R. de Ceriziers, was published in 1654. Now in 
Holland he worked hard at other translations, and he 
was the more able to do this at ease, as the Princess 
Royal Mary of Orange seems to have taken him 
into her retinue at the Hague. If the Court was 
anything like what it was when James Howell was 
there, it must have been vastly dull for the lively 
and dissolute Sir William Lower. But his stay 
was enlivened by the arrival of Charles and the in- 
trigues there carried on with the well-affected in Eng- 
land. 

At the Hague he issued a thin royal folio, with 
many plates, entitled "A relation in form of Journal 
of the voiage and residence which the most excellent and 
most mighty Prince, Charles the II, King of Great 
Britain, etc. , hath made in Holland, from the 25th of May 
to the 2nd of June, 1660, rendered into English from the 
original French. By Sir W. Lower, Knt. Printed 
by Adrian Ulack." This was published in Dutch, 
French, and English, and at the end of the volume 
Sir W. Lower inserted his poems, and an apology for 
the "tardive appearance (of the book) due to those 
men who grave the plates." 

Such "poems" as he has given as his own show 
conclusively enough that he was not a poet, but a mere 
hammerer together of rhymes. 

In June, 1660, calculating on his services rendered 
to Charles I and to the sumptuous book on the resi- 
dence in Holland of Charles II that he had brought 



SIR WILLIAM LOWER, KNT. 129 

out, Lower appealed to Secretary Nicholas from The 
Hague to obtain for him some place in the King's 
service. But the death of his cousin Thomas, only 
son of Sir William Lower, of Treventy, who died on 
5th February, 1661, by which he became sole heir, 
executor, and chief representative of the family, re- 
called him to England. He did not, however, enjoy ease 
long, for he died in the ensuing year, 1662, leaving an 
only child, Elizabeth, who probably died early, for 
nothing further is known of her than that she was in 
existence when her father died. Who the wife of Sir 
William Lower was is not known. 

His cousin. Dr. Richard Lower, of S. Paul's, 
Covent Garden, who gave Wood information relative 
to his kinsman, described him as "an ill poet and a 
worse man." 

His long residence abroad, his dissociation from 
Cornwall for all his life save his early boyhood, his 
separation from his kinsmen, had broken all the ties 
that linked him to his family and county ; and when 
he inherited the estates and was in a position to assist 
his kinsmen who had been greatly reduced by the 
civil wars, " he did not, but followed the vices of 
poets." 



THE PIRATES AT PENZANCE 

^ N event occurred at Penzance in the year 1760 
/^ that deserves to be remembered. Great 

/ — % Britain had been engaged in the Seven 
-X- jIl Years War ; and notwithstanding the 
successes of 1759, when Rodney bombarded Havre, 
Boscawen had routed and dispersed the Toulon fleet off 
Lagos, and Hawke had defeated the fleet of De Con- 
flans near Quiberon, there was still a certain amount of 
alarm in the country, a dread of predatory incursions, 
and if this fear existed inland, it was most acute upon 
the coast. 

On the night of the 29-3oth September Penzance 
was alarmed by the firing of guns, and soon after by 
the intelligence that a large ship of a strange appear- 
ance had run ashore near Newlyn. Half Penzance 
poured out in that direction in the grey of early morn- 
ing. But on reaching the strand they were panic- 
stricken to see on the ship, and drawn up on the beach, 
a number of ferocious-looking individuals with baggy 
trousers, and red fezes on their heads, and each armed 
with a scimitar, and with brass-mounted pistols stuck in 
their girdles. Thereupon the half of Penzance that had 
turned out now turned tail and made the best of their 
way back to the town, crying out that the Turks had 
landed and were intent on massacring the inhabitants of 
Penzance, plundering their houses, and carrying away 
their wives and children into captivity to become galley- 
slaves or to fill the harems of these Moslem monsters. 

130 



THE PIRATES AT PENZANCE 131 

A volunteer company was called out, the drum beat 
to arms, and marched to the beach, where they found 
172 men, who were surrounded, deprived of their 
weapons, and marched to a spacious building called 
"The Folly," that stood on the Western Green. As 
there were some of the captives who could speak the 
lingua franca, and there was here and there to be 
found a magistrate or an officer who had a limited 
knowledge of French, it was at last elicited from these 
men that they were the crew of an Algerine corsair, 
carrying twenty-four guns, from nine to six pounders. 
The captain, believing himself to be in the Atlantic, 
somewhere about the latitude of Cadiz, had cheerily in 
the dark run his vessel into Mount's Bay, and was 
vastly surprised when she struck, and still more so 
when he found himself surrounded by Cornishmen and 
not by Spaniards. He had lost eight men, drowned. 

No sooner was this bruited about than a second 
panic set in, and the good citizens of Penzance went 
into hysterics of fear lest these Algerine pirates should 
have brought with them an invasion of the plague. 

A cordon of volunteers was accordingly drawn up 
round "The Folly" to prevent all intercourse, intelli- 
gence was conveyed to the Government, and orders 
were issued for troops to march from Plymouth so as 
to surround the whole district. However, the local 
authorities recovered from their terror or apprehension 
in time to send off information that there was no cause 
for such a measure, and the orders were counter- 
manded. 

After some days, when no case of plague had revealed 
itself among the captives, the people of the town and 
neighbourhood were suffered to approach and contem- 
plate the strangers. Their Oriental dress, their long 
beards and moustaches, the dark complexion and 



132 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

glittering eyes of the piratical band, made them objects 
of curiosity. But they still inspired so much fear that 
few ventured to approach near to them. 

Upon the whole, they were kindly treated, and finally, 
as their vessel was a complete wreck, a man-of-war was 
despatched to take all the men on board and convey 
them back to Algiers. 



DAME KILLIGREW 

THE Killigrew family is one of the most 
ancient in Cornwall. It takes its name from 
Killigrew in the parish of S. Erme. Here 
stands the old nest of the family beside the 
high road from Truro that falls into that from Redruth 
to Bodmin at Casland. It is now represented by a 
couple of insignificant cottages, without old trees 
surrounding it, and the only hint that it was once the 
seat of a distinguished family is found in the remains 
of the deerpark. 

The genuine pedigree of the family goes back to 
Ralph Killigrew of Killigrew, in the reign of Henry 
III. In that of Richard II, Simon Killigrew married 
Jane, daughter and heiress of Robert of Arwenack, near 
Penryn, and he quitted the ancestral mansion to move 
to his wife's house that was planted in a less bleak 
situation and was on the estuary of the Fal. 

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Sir John Killigrew 
of Arwenack, was Captain in Command of Pendennis 
Castle. He married Mary, daughter of Philip Wolver- 
ston and widow of Henry Knyvett of an Eastern 
counties family, but her son by Henry Knyvett settled 
in Cornwall, at Rosemorryn in S. Budoc. Sir John 
pulled down the greater portion of the ancient house 
and built himself another, very stately in the style of 
the times — but, alas ! this also has disappeared, for 
when Sir William Waller approached Pendennis, to 
besiege it on behalf of the Parliament, the Governor 

133 



134 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

of the Castle set fire to Arwenack lest it should 
give harbour to the enemy. 

Sir John had a son, also called John, who married 
Dorothy, daughter of the impecunious Sir Thomas 
Monck, Knt., of Potheridge, which Sir Thomas died 
in the debtors' gaol at S. Thomas', by Exeter. John 
and Dorothy had a son. Sir John Killigrew, aged 
twenty-two on his father's death in 1605. 

Now it fell out that Sir Walter Raleigh on his home- 
ward voyage from Guiana put into Falmouth harbour, 
and found there, where the town now stands, only a 
fisherman's cottage. Killigrew, however, hospitably 
entertained Sir Walter, who expressed his surprise that 
so fine a harbour should have no accommodation for 
sailors sheltering there, and when he went to town 
memorialized King James on the subject. He had 
fired the imagination of his host, Sir John, and he 
also petitioned the King to grant him a royal licence 
to build four houses, where now stands Falmouth, for 
the convenience of sailors. This roused the wrath of 
the people of Penryn further up the river, who saw 
that four houses would bring in their wake many more, 
and would draw away the trade, and cut off the pros- 
perity of Penryn. Accordingly they used every possible 
endeavour to obstruct the project. Sir John made 
several journeys to London, but it was only by spend- 
ing a great deal of money in fees and bribery of 
officials that he was able to obtain the licence ; and by 
so doing he incurred the implacable resentment of the 
inhabitants of Penryn. 

We will now let Martin Killigrew continue the story. 
He wrote a history of the family in 1737 or 1738. We 
will somewhat simplify the reading by giving "the" 
for "y^" 

" The last Sir John Killigrew was hardly got over this 




THE KII.LYGREW CL'P 

" 1633. FROM MAIOR TO MAIOR TO THE TOWNE OF PEEMARIN, 

WHERE THEY RECEIVED MEE THAT WAS IN GREAT MISERY" 

lANE KILLYGEEW 
This Cup has been recently valued at the sinn of ;£4,ooo. 
It measures Just two ^eet in height 



DAME KILLIGREW 135 

difficulty, when he fell under a much greater affliction, the 
prostitution of his wife, who caused herself to be called, 
or unaccountably was known by the name of Lady Jane, " 
He has already stated, "Sir John Killigrew, a sober, 
good man, to his utter undoing, married the daughter 
of an ancient and honourable family, new in the peer- 
age, in respect to whom I forbear the name ; making 
herself infamous, and first debauched by the Governor 
of Pendennis Castle." This lady was Jane, daughter of 
Sir George Fermon, of Northampton. Sir William, 
his brother, was created Baron Leominster in 1622, 
whose son was given the earldom of Pomfret in 1721. 

" Arrived to that shameful degree, Sir John, in point 
of honour and for quietness of mind, found himself 
under a necessity to prosecute a divorce from her in the 
Archbishop's Court, which lasted so many years and 
[was] so very expensive, as quite ruined his estate, to 
the degree of his being often put to very hard shifts to 
get home from London upon the frequent recesses in the 
process, but at length obtained the divorce in all its 
formal extent. This woman in such long contest was 
in no degree protected by her family, but supported 
and cherished by the town of Penryn, from their 
jealousy and hatred of Arwenack, as specially ap- 
pears to this day, by plate by her given to the Mayor 
and Corporation of Penryn, when she came into her 
jointure, as an acknowledgment for such protection.^ 
Sir John did not long outlive such his divorce, dying 
in 1632." 

Hals says: "Jane Killigrew, widow of Sir John 
Killigrew, Knt., in the Spanish wars in the latter end 

' The cup is still in the possession of the Corporation of Penryn. It 
is of silver, will hold about three quarts, and is inscribed : " From Mayor 
to Mayor of the town of Penryn, where they received me in great misery. 
Jane Killygrew, 1613." 



136 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, went on board two 
Dutch ships of the Hans Towns (always free traders in 
times of war) driven into Falmouth harbour by cross 
winds, laden with merchandise, on account (as was 
said) of Spaniards, and with a numerous party of 
ruffians, murdered the two Spanish merchants or 
factors on board these ships, and took from them two 
barrels or hogsheads of Spanish pieces of eight, and 
converted them to her own use." 

"Now, though Fleta (lib. i. c. iii., temp. Edward 
H) tells us that it is no murder except it be proved that 
the party slain was English, and no stranger, yet 
afterwards by the statute 4 Edward HI, the killing 
any foreigner under the King's protection, out of evil 
design or malice, is murder ; upon which statute these 
offenders were tried and found guilty at Launceston of 
wilful murder, both by the grand and petty juries, and 
had sentence of death passed accordingly upon them, 
and were all executed, except the said Lady Killigrew, 
the principal agent and contriver of the barbarous fact, 
who, by the interest and favour of Sir John Arundell, 
of Tolverne, Knt., and his son-in-law. Sir Nicholas 
Hals, of Pengersick, Knt., obtained of Queen Elizabeth 
a pardon or reprieve for the said lady, which was 
seasonably put into the Sheriff of Cornwall's hands. 

" At the news whereof the other condemned wretches 
aforesaid at the gallows lamented nothing more than that 
they had not the company of that old Jezebel Killigrew 
at that place as in justice they ought to be (to use their 
own words), and begged Almighty God that some re- 
markable judgment might befall her and her posterity, 
nay, and all those that were instrumental in procuring 
her freedom, and observed hereupon it was, that her 
grandson Sir William Killigrew spent the whole 
paternal estate of his ancestors, as did Sir Thomas 



DAME KILLIGREW 137 

Arundell, Knt., son of Sir John Arundell, aforesaid, 
and John Hals, Esq., son of Sir Nicolas Hals, Knt., in 
their own times, but alas, several and public revolu- 
tions of this kind ; and all other in worldly affairs are 
carried on by the judgment and providence of God, 
not the determination of men, especially such barbarous 
ruffians as these criminals, though these things hap- 
pened according to the malefactors' direful imprecations 
in some sense." 

Hals in the above account makes several blunders. 
The affair to which he alludes took place in January, 
1583, and the Dame Killigrew who was involved in it 
was Mary, wife of Sir John, the grandfather of the 
Sir John who divorced his wife Jane. Another mistake 
is that the ship was not one of the Hanseatic town mer- 
chant vessels, but was Spanish. Moreover, Hals is 
wrong in saying that the two Spanish merchants were 
murdered. On the contrary. Lady Killigrew's ruffians 
threw overboard and drowned the whole ship's crew, 
with the exception of the two merchants, who were on 
shore and so escaped. 

The facts are as follows : — 

The Mary of S. Sebastian, a Spanish ship of 144 
tons burden, owned by two merchants, John de Chavis 
and Philip de Oryo, the latter being as well the captain, 
arrived in Falmouth harbour on January ist, 1582-3, 
and cast anchor within the bar, just under Sir John 
Killigrew's house of Arwenack. Here for lack of 
wind it remained, and the owners went on shore and 
took up their quarters in an inn at Penryn, awaiting a 
favourable breeze. At this time there was no open 
breach of peace between England and Spain. It was 
not till 1585 that Elizabeth sent over an army into the 
Netherlands to oppose the forces of Philip H, and de- 
spatched a fleet under Sir Francis Drake into the West 



138 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Indies to molest the Spanish galleons and colonies 
there. 

Lady Killigrew seems to have formed a scheme for 
robbing the merchant vessel and massacring the crew 
and the owners, and several efforts were made to induce 
the two merchants to quit their inn at Penryn and 
return on board, so that the whole of those on the 
vessel and the merchants might be got rid of, and not 
a witness left. However, this failed ; Chavis and Oryo 
did not return to their ship. 

About midnight on 7th January a boatload of men 
boarded the Spanish vessel and overpowered the sailors, 
raised the anchors, and set sail. The Spaniards were 
all either butchered or thrown into the sea. The ship 
was then taken to Ireland, where she was plundered 
and the spoil divided. But before this was done, two 
of Lady Killigrew's servants, named Kendal and Haw- 
kins, were sent back to Arwenack with sundry bolts 
of Hollands and leather, as the share of Lady Killigrew, 
her kinswoman, Mrs. Killigrew, and the maids and ser- 
vants in the house. 

Lady Killigrew was highly incensed at being put off 
with so little, but fume as she might she could do 
nothing, for the ship was on its way to Ireland. What 
she did accordingly was to keep all that was sent on 
shore for herself, and distribute none of it among her 
household. 

The two merchants now stirred, and laid formal 
complaint before the Commissioners for Piracy in 
Cornwall. Among these was Sir John Killigrew, the 
husband of the lady who had contrived or abetted 
the act. A meeting was held at Penryn, and sufficient 
evidence was produced to implicate Hawkins and 
Kendal ; but this they were able to rebut by the testi- 
mony of Elizabeth Bowden, who kept a small tavern 



DAME KILLIGREW 139 

at Penryn, and who swore that up to the time that the 
act of piracy was committed the two men Hawkins and 
Kendal were drinking in her inn. The jury returned 
an open verdict that the ship had certainly been stolen, 
but by whom there was no evidence to show. 

Chavis and De Oryo were not men disposed to let 
the matter rest thus, and having procured a safe con- 
duct to London from the Commissioners, they proceeded 
thither, and laid their complaint before the higher 
authorities, with the result that the Earl of Bedford in- 
structed Sir Richard Grenville and Mr. Edmund 
Tremayne to make a searching investigation into the 
affair. 

As might be anticipated, this inquiry was more 
thorough-going and real than the other, and the truth 
was at last elicited from witnesses very reluctant to 
speak what they knew. The result arrived at was 
this : — 

The whole plot had been contrived by Dame Killi- 
grew, who on the Sunday in question ordered Hawkins 
and Kendal to board the Spaniard, along with a party 
of sailors and fishermen got together for the purpose. 
Moreover, she sent a messenger by boat to the Gover- 
nor of St. Mawes Castle, to inform him that the 
Spanish merchants proposed to sail that night, and to 
request him not to hinder them from so doing. The other 
castle, that of Pendennis, commanding the entrance to 
the haven, had Sir John Killigrew as Governor, and in 
it all day were harboured the boarding-party destined 
to carry off the merchantman. 

Hawkins, who was the ringleader, had been sworn to 
strict secrecy by Lady Killigrew, who desired to keep 
the whole transaction from the knowledge of her hus- 
band. The leather that fell to her share was placed in a 
cask and buried in the garden at Arwenack. Hawkins 



I40 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

and Kendal were hanged at Launceston, but Lady Killi- 
grew escaped as Hals relates. Sir John died next year; 
when Lady Killigrew died is not known. 

On the death of the later Sir John in 1633, Arwenack 
passed to his nephew, as he left no issue, and that 
nephew, Sir Peter Killigrew, married Frances, 
daughter and co-heiress of Sir Roger Twysden. He 
had two daughters, and a son George who came to an 
untimely end. 

He was killed in a drunken brawl in a tavern at 
Penryn by Walter Vincent, barrister-at-law, "who," 
says Hals, "was tried for his life at Launceston for the 
fact, and acquitted by the petty jury, through bribery 
and indiscreet acts and practices, as was generally said; 
yet this Mr. Vincent, through anguish and horror at 
this accident (as it was said), within two years after 
wasted of an extreme atrophy of his flesh and spirits, 
that at length at the table whereby he was sitting, in 
the Bishop of Exeter's palace, in the presence of divers 
gentlemen, he instantly fell back against the wall and 
died." 

Frances, the eldest daughter of Sir Peter Killigrew, 
married Richard Erisey, and had a daughter who 
became the wife of John West, of Bury S. Edmunds, 
and by him had a daughter Frances, who married the 
Hon. Charles Berkeley, and through their descent the 
estates, or such as remained of the old family of Killi- 
grew, passed to the Earl of Kimberley. 

The history of the Killigrew family, by Martin 
Killigrew, was published in part by Mr. R. N. Worth 
in \h.e Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Vol. 
HI (1868-70), and the story of the seizure of the Spanish 
vessel by Dame Killigrew was investigated by Mr. 
H. M. Whitley, in the /owma/, Vol. VH (1881-3). 



TWO NATURALISTS IN CORNWALL 

THE two men of science of whom a sketch is 
about to be given here were neither of them 
Cornishmen by birth and parentage, but, 
inasmuch as a long stretch of the life of 
each was spent in the delectable duchy, and as both 
were well known in it and made it the principal 
field of their labours, they deserve a place in this 
collection. These two men are John Ralfs, the 
botanist, and George Carter Bignell, the entomologist. 
John Ralfs was born September 13, 1807, at Mill- 
brook, near Southampton. His father, Samuel Ralfs, 
died when he was a year old, and to his mother was 
entrusted his early training. From an early age he 
manifested a passionate love of flowers, and as he 
grew older an interest in chemistry. Probably on 
this latter account he decided on the medical pro- 
fession, and whilst studying medicine he prosecuted 
botanical research, so that on passing his final exam- 
ination the President of the Royal College of Surgeons 
complimented him on his botanical knowledge, and 
predicted that the world would one day hear a good 
deal of this then " beardless boy." 

He married a Miss Newman, and by her had a son, 
but they were in every way an ill-suited pair, and after 
a while they agreed to part, and she went to reside in 
France, taking her son with her. 

Fortunately for science, Ralfs' health would not 
stand the arduous and anxious life of a village doctor, 

141 



142 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

and he threw up his profession and wandered about 
in the south of England, a friendless, reserved, and 
taciturn man, devoting all his time and attention to 
botany. He settled finally in Penzance, in the year 
1837, 3.nd became a familiar personality in the west 
of Cornwall, rambling over the moors, creeping into 
bogs, often on hands and knees, searching for rare 
plants; "a terror to timid ladies, who would scuttle 
away like frightened rabbits at the sight of this dark, 
strange man hanging over some deep pool, peering 
with his short-sighted eyes into what was to him 
a paradise, and perhaps calling out aloud, forgetful 
that he and nature were not alone, ' I see him ! I've 
got him ! ' And often he would be seen resting on 
a stile, weary with his wanderings, his hat and coat 
almost as green as the grass on one of his favourite 
bogs, the marks of his last fray fresh upon them, his 
collar disappearing, apparently, in vain search of his 
cravat ; gazing absently into the distance, where he 
saw, doubtless, beautiful and rare specimens of his 
Alg£e and Diatomacese." 

Mr. Ralfs was never so happy as when alone ; he 
did not care for society, least of all that of women, 
and grievous deafness made it difficult for him to 
engage in conversation. Even with men of science 
like himself he did not care to associate, except 
through written correspondence. At Penzance he 
was generally regarded as "a bit total," a little* 
perhaps not a little, off his head; but no one could 
have other than a kind word to say of him, for he 
never injured any one. Occasionally his son came 
from France to pay his father a visit ; but such visits 
were brief; their tastes were not the same, and their 
outlook into life was different. 

Mr. Ralfs wrote a good deal. He contributed to the 



TWO NATURALISTS IN CORNWALL 143 

proceedings of many learned societies, but especially 
the Edinburgh Botanical Society. He was the author 
of the botanical chapter in the Guide to Ilfracombe, 
and of the "Sketch of the Botany of West Penwith" 
in Mr. J. S. Courtney's Guide to Penzance. Mr. 
J. T. Blight also was assisted by him in his Week 
at the Land's End. He helped as well in English 
Botany, by Sir James E. Smith, the figures by James 
Sowerby. He composed, moreover, a Flora of West 
Cornwall that remains in MS. in the Penzance Public 
Library. 

Late in life he formed a tender attachment for a little 
child, who had somehow hitched herself on to him 
as a companion in his rambles. "The first overtures 
were entirely on her own side, and it was some time 
before this acquaintance ripened into friendship. She 
was a delicate child, and her playfellow — for such he 
became — prescribed Fresh Air and no Lessons ; and so 
off they would go for long country walks, much to the 
benefit of her health, but to the detriment of her 
clothes. Of the mustard poultice that sometimes 
these excursions rendered necessary, and which could 
not be endured unless he submitted to a similar 
infliction ; of the delightful dolls' tea parties ; of the 
fairy tales, translated solely for her amusement from 
the French and German ; of his selections from 
Thackeray and Dickens, whose characters were thus 
made living people to her ; of the wonders that 
awaited her on S. Valentine's Day, when, through 
his skilful management, twenty or thirty valentines 
were to arrive for her from different parts of the 
country ; of the choice variety of sweets he purchased 
for her stocking at Christmas; of all this, I wish 
I could discourse at greater length. It is sufficient 
to say that this friendship, thus begun, lasted to the 



144 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

end of his life, and was the means of relieving to 
a large extent that solitude which had before sur- 
rounded him. 

"On Midsummer Day, when the custom is to wear 
wreaths of flowers, he would give free permission to 
the children to pick all the flowers in his garden, on 
condition that they would come to him flower-crowned 
in the evening, when he would entertain them royally 
with fruit and sweetmeats. On Corpus Christi Plea- 
sure Fair (a red-letter day for little Cornish children) 
he would be seen with a small crowd of boys and girls 
around him, whom he would treat to all the various 
shows, waiting patiently, until their curiosity was satis- 
fied, outside." 

One great delight of Mr. Ralfs was the naturalizing 
of strange plants in the neighbourhood of Penzance, 
amongst others the large-flowered butterwort, and very 
much amused was he when some local paper with a 
flourish of trumpets announced the discovery of the 
Pinguicula by a botanical tourist, and a claim put 
forward that it was indigenous to Cornwall. 

John Ralfs died 14 July, 1890, and was buried at 
Penzance. 

The second naturalist, Mr. George Carter Bignell, is 
happily still alive and in full intellectual vigour, and 
resides in Saltash. He is a native of Exeter, having 
been born in that city in 1826. He was educated at 
S. John's Hospital in his native town, but had to leave 
it at the age of twelve, when he was placed in a book- 
ing-office for receiving parcels and booking passengers 
for the carriers who made the " Black Lion " their 
head-quarters when in Exeter. These carriers came 
from many small towns from twenty to fifty miles away. 
The yard and stabling were connected with the "Black 



TWO NATURALISTS IN CORNWALL 145 

Lion " and the Commercial Inn, South Street, and 
opposite was the office. Mr. Bignell says: "Often 
have I seen these lumbering wagons with twenty 
magnificent horses attached to them start from the 
office, the driver riding a cob by the side. Very often 
such a wagon would be conveying gold from the 
ships in Falmouth to the Bank of England, and in that 
case the wagon was attended by a guard carrying a 
blunderbuss." 

In this office Mr. Bignell remained till he was 
sixteen, and in 1842 he joined the Royal Marines at 
Stonehouse. He saw some foreign service, and was on 
board the Superb during the civil war in Spain in 1847, 
and was employed on the coasts of Spain and Portugal. 
He was in the squadron which succeeded in capturing 
a division of the rebel army of Count Das Anton, con- 
sisting of about three thousand men. Boats' crews put 
off from the ships of the squadron, and under a heavy 
fire from the forts boarded and captured every vessel. 
The prisoners were conveyed up the river Tagus to 
Fort S. Julian, where, after being deprived of arms 
and ammunition, they were safely lodged. 

A guard, consisting of half the complement of 
marines from each ship, was placed over them, the 
whole body under the command of Major Stransham. 

A few days after the capture it was discovered that 
ammunition was being surreptitiously conveyed into 
the fort by friends of the rebels, and investigation dis- 
closed that a plot had been hatched to blow up the fort. 

Count Das Anton pretended to be wholly ignorant of 
the conspiracy. The rebels were paraded, each man 
searched, and every nook and cranny in the fort thor- 
oughly overhauled. A large quantity of gunpowder 
was found, and this was promptly wheeled to the para- 
pets in barrows and thrown into the Tagus. 



146 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

The guard placed over this large body of prisoners 
was small, and to overawe the prisoners all the marines 
from the ships were landed every evening at sunset 
and marched with fixed bayonets to the fort, with 
orders to make as much noise and clatter as they 
could ; and then at night, when all was still, they stole 
silently away from the fort and returned on board. So 
well was the ruse practised every day that the prisoners 
were under the impression that they were guarded by a 
large body, and never suspected the truth. The time 
at the fort was not very pleasant to the marines on 
guard, as the place was filthy and literally swarmed 
with fleas, and their white drill suits were so covered 
with these detestable insects that the marines appeared 
to be dressed in brown instead of white clothing. 

This was Mr. Bignell's only taste of active service. 
When the Superb was paid off he was employed in 
several ofi&ces in the barracks, first as commanding 
officer's clerk, and afterwards he was appointed to the 
barracks at Millbay as barrack sergeant, and he held 
this appointment for seven years. By the end of this 
time he had served twenty-two years. Throughout! all 
this time he had been a keen and close observer of 
nature. From his boyhood up natural history had 
exercised a great attraction for him, and as he grew up, 
and studied, the subject became more and more interest- 
ing. During his last seven years of service he made 
considerable progress, for as a barrack sergeant he had 
little work to do, and so had plenty of time to devote to 
his hobby. 

After being discharged he became a member of the 
Plymouth Institution, with the object of finding out the 
names of some of the insects he had captured, and was 
surprised to find that it had nothing like them in its 
collection, nor could anybody tell him what they were. 









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TWO NATURALISTS IN CORNWALL 147 

Mr. Bignell had barely retired from the service ere 
he was appointed Registrar of Births and Deaths for 
the Stonehouse district and also Poor Law Officer to 
the Stonehouse Board of Guardians ; but his residence 
is in Saltash. All his spare time has for many years 
been given up to scientific pursuits, the branch of 
science to which he is most partial being entomology ; 
but since his residence in Saltash he has been a 
profound student in marine flora. It is not only in 
the study of the known and hitherto unregistered 
insects that Mr. Bignell has acquired a world-wide 
fame ; he has specially taken up the subject, hitherto 
almost untouched, of the parasites that live on insects. 

To grasp what has been done by him an examina- 
tion must be made of the entomological journals for 
the last forty years, for there he is generally in evidence. 
In the proceedings of the Entomological Society of 
London Mr. Bignell's name is quoted as being the 
discoverer of fifty-one parasites, nineteen being new to 
science and thirty-two new to Britain. In recognition 
of this work, one of the new species has been named 
after him Mesoleius Bignellii. The Royal Cornwall 
Polytechnic Society have awarded him three of their 
medals, a bronze one for "land and fresh water shells," 
a silver one for a " collection of British moths," and a 
second silver medal for " butterflies and moths." 

In the publications of the Ray Society on the 
Larvce of British Butterflies and Moths, at the end of 
each volume we find a list of parasites preying on these 
beautiful insects, "kindly prepared by Mr. G. C. 
Bignell, f.e.s." 

One of the most extraordinary features of Mr. 
Bignell's work is the infinite delicacy wherewith even 
now at an advanced age he is able to draw and colour 
his specimens. The miniature painter of a beautiful 



148 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

girl's face a century ago did not take more pains to 
delineate the object of his admiring study than does 
Mr. Bignell to obtain a "counterfeit presentment" of 
some disgusting caterpillar or parasitic insect. 

The hunting for specimens would be an exhausting 
toil were it not a labour of love. On one occasion Mr, 
Bignell obtained one hundred and forty-one caterpillars 
of a certain moth in Whitsand Bay, under Fort Tre- 
gantle. They were feeding on henbane, and as he did 
not know where else to get the right sort of food for them, 
he had to go out two or three times a week for the food, 
walking in all a hundred miles. But, alas for the 
ingratitude of the caterpillars^ not a single moth rcr 
warded all this devotion ! Yet even this was outdone 
by a hundred and thirty-five mile walk in the dark to 
attempt to capture one sort of moth, which perhaps 
deserves to be mentioned for its elusive ways. It is 
called the Dasycampa rubigtnea, and has to live up to 
its name. Plym Bridge was supposed to be its haunt, 
and its time of taking its walks or flutter abroad, night, 
and that also in midwinter. So night after night in 
November and December it was stalked, till one night, 
between the 6th and 7th December, the moth was 
spotted leisurely sipping honey from the flowers of the 
ivy growing on one of the pillars of the old gateway 
leading into Cann Wood between Plym Bridge and 
Plympton, just as the clock at Morley House was strik- 
ing twelve. 

A pathetic interest attaches to the large copper 
butterfly. This splendid species was first discovered in 
Wales by the celebrated botanist Hudson. It was sub- 
sequently captured in considerable numbers about 
Whittlesea Mere, in Huntingdonshire. Now, alas ! it is 
extinct, and a specimen such as one possessed by Mr. 
Bignell is worth some pounds. The last secured was 



TWO NATURALISTS IN CORNWALL 149 

in 1847. Greedy collectors and dealers from London, 
after its discovery, were waiting for it, and offered 
the country yokels five shillings for every caterpillar 
secured. Now it is as extinct as the dodo and the 
great auk. 

There would seem to be no living creature that is not 
a home and feeding ground for parasites ; even the 
butterflies are infested with them, and probably these 
parasites also have others infinitely small that attack 
them. 

Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em, 
And little fleas have lesser fleas — and so ad infinitum. 

One of the most interesting discoveries made by Mr. 
Bignell is that a creature like a scorpion — but all claw — 
that is found upon the common house-fly is not a true 
parasite. It likes a ride, and to do it cheap. And 
when a fly comes within reach, it lays hold of it with its 
disproportionately huge claws, clings, and has a ride, 
free, gratis and for nothing. When it has seen enough 
of the world and is tired, it lets go and drops off. 

Says Mr. Bignell : ' ' The Blossom Underwing is a 
moth that was very abundant on the male flowers of the 
great sallow on April 13th, 1866. Previously this moth 
was very scarce ; but on this night I saw at least a 
thousand ; they were all in pairs, and each pair occupied 
a flower, a sight never to be forgotten. The fine 
flowering scrubby oaks were swarming with the larvae. 
A friend of mine who kept birds in a very large cage, 
seeing the abundance of the caterpillars, decided to give 
his birds a treat ; he accordingly gathered about a pint 
of them, carried them home, and instead of giving the 
birds two or three at a time, he incautiously put the 
tin into the cage and removed the lid. At once the 
caterpillars began to escape, and the seething mass 
of black and yellow wriggling over the floor, crawling 



I50 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

about the wires, so frightened the birds that it caused 
the death of two of three, which beat themselves against 
the cage in vain hope to escape from these uncanny 
horrors." 

As may be well imagined, Mr. Bignell with his 
lantern stealing up the side of a hedge in the night 
often enough routed the poachers and sent them flying, 
thinking they were being watched by a policeman. 
On one occasion he scared an owl. " I was enjoying 
myself, on my knees, hunting over the contents of my 
net that I had used for sweeping the low foliage, to see 
what captures I had made. My nose and bull's-eye 
lantern were thrust close to the ground, to prevent any- 
thing escaping observation. In the midst of this occu- 
pation an owl swooped down to see what was up, when 
I turned my lantern on him, and away he flew in a 
mighty hurry, bringing the back of his wings together 
with great force, like a man clapping his hands. He 
was evidently in great alarm, and uttered an unearthly 
scream. It certainly gave me also a turn, it was so 
sudden." 

All moths with highly pectinated antennce, that is to 
say with their feelers comb-like at the extremities, have 
the most extraordinary power of scenting a female moth 
at a great distance, even two or three miles, with a 
favourable wind. 

Mr. Bignell says: "I once had a virgin female 
of the Oak-egger moth, and was desirous of getting 
some males. I started off with the lady in a tin box, 
with a perforated zinc top, to give her air and allow her 
perfume to escape. I walked through the fields towards 
Milehouse to where was a turnstile ; and at this spot 
lighted on a weary policeman resting. As it was a dull 
day, without any token of the sun breaking out, to 
attract butterflies for their usual gambols, the policeman 



TWO NATURALISTS IN CORNWALL 151 

jeeringly remarked that I had missed the right day, 
I replied that I thought not, and that I could collect as 
many as I desired, in fact, I could make them come to 
me. He laughed incredulously. I then took out my 
tin box and placed it on the wall, and, magician-like, 
whistled and waved my hand. The policeman stared, 
and thought I was befooling him. But lo, in two 
or three minutes one male alighted close to the box, 
soon followed by others, and in a quarter of an hour I 
had at least fifty, and so tame that I picked them up 
with my fingers and distributed them among about a 
dozen people who had gathered to see what I was 
about. The policeman stared with open eyes and 
mouth, quite satisfied that my whistle and mysterious 
signs in the air with my hand had called the insects to 
me. Satisfied with what I had got I waved again and 
bade the moths depart, and clapped the box in my 
pocket. Next day I took the empty box out with me 
into the country. I had several males following me, and 
some actually penetrated into my pocket where was the 
empty box, proving that the perfume still remained in 
it, though wholly imperceptible to myself." 

On one occasion Mr. Bignell and a friend set out at 
night to find the beautiful moth Heliophobus hispidus, 
knowing its haunts, between the south side of the 
Plymouth citadel and the sea, where it is to be found 
in September or October resting on the grass. 

Accordingly, each furnished with a bull's-eye lantern, 
they visited the locality, but it was some time before 
one was discerned, and that was on a blade of grass 
overhanging the cliff and out of reach, a sheer drop of 
twenty feet at least into the sea fretting and moaning 
below. Loath to miss it, as its eyes shone like two 
rubies — in fact, both saw those glistening eyes before 
they observed that they were in the head of the moth 



152 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

— they arranged that one should lie flat on his stomach, 
and that Mr. Bignell should sit down, dig the heels of 
his boots into the turf, then take his friend by the legs 
and thrust him over the edge of the cliff, so far as to 
enable him to box the moth, whilst holding the handle 
of his lantern between his teeth. This was done, and 
the Heliophobus was secured. 

But, after all, it is in the direction of parasites living 
upon insects that Mr. Bignell has made the greatest 
research. He is the possessor of a unique collection 
of the parasites that live on the aphis, and also of the 
hyper-parasite which preys upon that parasite. The 
life-history of this insect was unknown till Mr. Bignell 
detected a hyper-parasite pierce the aphis which was 
itself a parasite. The specimen was secured, and 
from it was bred the hyper-parasite itself. 

The life-story of the aphis, that tiny green pest that 
infests the roses, has been unrolled by this enthusiastic 
student, and is full of surprises. The ichneumon fly 
as well has been watched, and all its wicked acts 
recorded. 

Caterpillars, so fat and fleshy, form a delightful 
feeding ground for the deposit of eggs, and serve 
as luscious food for the young to pasture upon. We 
human beings, in common with all mammals, have the 
obligation imposed on us of nourishing our own young, 
and with some of us we go on sustaining them till we 
are exhausted in the process, but the ichneumonidee 
are more clever than we. They make others, not- 
ably the caterpillars, maintain their young, and the 
frivolous mothers, after having once deposited their 
eggs, gad about and enjoy themselves as having no 
concern for their future well-being. It is a comfort to 
reflect that the insects thus preyed upon do not seem to 
suffer much, if at all, and it may almost be said that they 



TWO NATURALISTS IN CORNWALL 153 

exhibit a maternal regard for the young bred out of 
their bodies. 

With his wonderful microscopes Mr. Bignell can 
explore far down the ladder of life, but whether to its 
lowest rung may well be doubted. There is always 
some living being to be found preying on the last of 
the minutest creature last seen. 

After a visit to Mr. Bignell's house in Saltash with 
a friend, I turned to him and said: "I came here 
believing myself to be an Individual. I leave knowing 
myself to be a Community." 



SIR JOHN CALL, BART. 

THE Dictionary of National Biography says 
of Sir John Call that he was "descended 
from an old family which, it is said, once 
owned considerable property in Devon and 
Cornwall." That proviso "it is said" is conveniently 
inserted. Anything may be said, as that the cow 
jumped over the moon, but that a saying may be 
believed we must know who uttered it. Now the 
originator of this saying was probably William Playfair, 
i n his British Family A ntiquity, 1 809. I n that the follow- 
ing interesting statement occurs: "From papers in 
the possession of the family, partly fabulous, though 
partly true, it appears that the family of the Calls, 
consisting of three brothers, came into England from 
Saxony towards the end of the eighth century. One 
of these brothers settled in Scotland, from whom is 
descended the clan of the McColls ; the second in 
Norfolk, where the family continued until the begin- 
ning of the last (eighteenth) century ; and the third 
settled in Cornwall, from whence the present family 
derives its origin. This very ancient, but latterly not 
very opulent family, was formerly possessed of con- 
siderable landed property both in Devonshire and 
Cornwall, which was first reduced by the civil wars 
in the time of Henry VH, and afterwards nearly 
annihilated, in consequence of the loyal attachment 
of some of its individuals to the royal cause during 
the civil wars in the reign of Charles I." 

154 




SIR JOHN CALL, BART. 

From a portrait (by A. HickU) in the possession of his great-granddaughter 

Mrs. de Lacy Lacy 



SIR JOHN CALL, BART. 155 

Why was the eighth century fixed on for the advent 
of the Calls upon the scene ? Presumably because the 
first Norsemen arrived in 787. Conceive the Calls 
coming over in a dragon ship, filled with berserker 
rage, to ravage England and glut themselves with our 
blood. 

But we shall look for Calls in vain among the records 
of the past. As it happens, Saxons and Northmen had 
no family, only personal names. The story is as absurd 
as that also put forth that Callington derived its name 
from the Calls, who only settled near it in 1770. 

But these "family papers" are not so ancient as Sir 
John Call, who would have been above such a pretence. 
As a matter of fact, the account supplied to Playfair 
shows a surprising ignorance in the writer as to the 
existence of Heralds' Visitations, Inquisitiones post 
mortem. Wills, Royalist Composition Papers, Parish 
Registers, and all the material at hand to confirm or 
disprove reckless genealogical assertions. Playfair 
does admit that the story contained in the "family 
papers" is "partly fabulous." He might have said 
that it was fabulous from beginning to end. 

The Calls had no right whatever to bear arms, till 
a grant was made to them — after reading the above 
flourish not inappropriate — of three trumpets. 

The MS. "Names of Gentlemen in Devonshire and 
Cornwall with their Arms," drawn up by John Hooker, 
alias Vowell, in 1599, is the only armoury of the West 
that gives the name of Call with arms : Party per pale 
or and gules ; upon a chief az. 3 geese sable. But he 
gives no indication of place where such a gentleman 
possessed land — and that, before this "opulent family" 
had been ruined by the civil wars. Hooker probably 
included the name, because, at the time, there was some 
gentleman Call from another part of England living 



156 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

in Exeter. That the Calls of Whiteford had no claim to 
his arms, nor could exhibit descent from him, is shown 
by their not adopting his coat. In a MS. armoury 
of all England dating from 1632, that belonged to 
C. Pole, the name and arms of Call do not occur. 

According to Foster's Baronetage, the Calls hailed 
from Prestacott, in Launcells. 

Actually the great-grandfather of Sir John was of 
Grove, in Stratton, a tenant farmer. A good many 
Calls appear in the register of the parish, never with 
gent, appended to the name, or even with Mr. pre- 
ceding it, a title generally accorded to a yeoman or a 
well-to-do tradesman ; and one in 1735 is buried as a 
pauper. Their marriages also show to what class they 
belonged, with the Uglows, Tanners, and the Jewells, 
in a humble walk of life. 

John Call, described as of Prestacott, in Launcells, 
was born in 1680, and in 1702 married Sarah Jewell, 
and died in 1730. 

Prestacott consisted of three very small farms on the 
right-hand side of the old road from Stratton to Hols- 
worthy. Of late years the ramshackle buildings have 
been pulled down and the lands thrown together and 
constituted one farm, and a new house has been built. 
It belonged at the time that John Call rented one of 
these little holdings to the Orchards of Hartland 
Abbey. John Call had two sons, John and Richard. 
John was born ist March, 1704-5, and married Jane, 
daughter of John Mill, of Launcells, "the descendant 
of a respectable family, which had considerable posses- 
sions there, as well as in Middlesex," says Playfair. 
He might have added with equal truth that they pos- 
sessed castles in the air. As it happens, the Visitations 
of Cornwall and Lysons knew nothing of the family of 
Mill. The Mills were of Shernick, a farm in Launcells, 



SIR JOHN CALL, BART. 157 

which they rented of the Arundels of Trerice. Their 
ledger-stones are in the parish church, but they are 
never described as gents. Mrs. Judith Mill was buried 
on October 14th, 1723, and Mr. John Mill on Decem- 
ber ist in the same year, and Mr. Richard Mill on July 
nth, 1766. 

Sarah Call, widow of John Call (without even Mr. 
and Mrs. prefixed), was buried on February ist, 1747-8. 
Shernick is now the property of Sir C. T. Acland, 
Bart., inherited through an heiress in the nineteenth 
century of the Arundels. 

John Call, who married Jane Mill, had a son, the 
subject of this memoir. Afterwards, when this son 
was rich, he set up a tablet to the memory of his father 
in Launcells Church, on which he gives him the title of 
"gent." 

In Memory of John Call gent of Shernick 

in this parish, and of Whiteford in Stoke Climsland. 

He was interred in this church 3 Jan. 1767, 

aged 63. Also of Jane Call his widow, who 

was interred 9 Nov. 1781, aged 70. 

Also of Jane Jones their daughter, wife of 

the Rev'^ Cadwalader Jones, minister of this parish, 

who was here interred 2 April, 1790, aged 

50, and of their two children, etc. 

Concerning Mrs. Cadwalader Jones, more hereafter. 
The old gentleman, John Call, had died on December 
31st, 1766, going out with the old year. 

John, the younger, was born June 30th, 1732, at 
Fenny Park, near Tiverton, and was educated at a 
private school. For some reason or other, not known, 
his mother disliked him, and when aged seventeen, and 
he had been recommended to the notice of Benjamin 
Robbins, who was going out to India, she refused 
to furnish him with the money required for his outfit 



158 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

and passage to India, so that his more distant relatives, 
probably the Mill family of Shernick, supplied the 
money. 

Benjamin Robbins had composed a treatise on the 
principles of gunnery and the price of gunpowder, that 
was not as yet published, and also an account of Lord 
Anson's voyages. He was a mathematician, and had 
been appointed chief engineer and captain-general in 
the East India Company's service, and he was looking 
about for commercial clerks who would serve on a 
small pay, when Call was recommended to him as a 
shrewd lad. John Call was glad of the chance of see- 
ing something of the world and of escaping from a 
mother who flouted him, and he embraced the offer 
with gladness. Robbins quitted England in 1749, and 
arrived with his clerks at Fort William in July, 1750. 

Call had been given by Robbins his treatise on ex- 
plosives to transcribe for the press, and this interested 
the young man in the subject, and he pursued the 
theme, and made considerable improvements in rifling 
barrels. He also introduced one that enabled shells 
to be discharged from long guns. When Robbins 
landed he had with him eight young clerks, of whom 
Call was one. Robbins died in July, 1751, and Call 
then became the leading engineer. 

War broke out among the native princes, backed 
up upon one side by the French, on the other by the 
English, and Call was employed to carry out the erec- 
tion of defensive works at Fort S. David. This was an 
English settlement near the mouth of the Southern 
Pennair River, and was only twelve miles from Pondi- 
cherry, the French head-quarters. 

Madras, at the mouth of the Triplicane, consisted 
of the native or black city and of Fort S. George, 
which lay on the sea, and was almost engirdled by the 



SIR JOHN CALL, BART. 159 

North River that with the Triplicane formed an island 
crossed by the main road from Chinglapett and Vanda- 
lone. 

The French, whilst in possession of Fort S. George, 
after it had been taken by Labourdonnais in 1746, had 
made several improvements and additions to the slight 
works they found, which, nevertheless, rendered the 
fort little capable of long resistance against the regular 
approaches of a European enemy ; nor had they 
given any attention to the internal area, which did not 
exceed fifteen acres of ground. Nevertheless, the 
English let the place remain in the same state after its 
recovery from the French in 1751 till the beginning of 
the year 1756, when the expectation of another war 
with that nation, and the reports of the great prepara- 
tions making in France against India, dictated the 
necessity of rendering it completely defensible ; and 
Call was employed in the extension and perfecting of 
the wdrk, that had received the consideration of 
Robbins before his decease. Accordingly all the 
coolies, labourers, and tank diggers whom the ad- 
jacent country could supply were from this time 
constantly employed on the fortifications : their daily 
number generally amounted to four thousand men, 
women, and children. The river channel was diverted, 
and the old channel was filled up ; very extensive 
bastions and outworks were erected ; and it was due to 
this undertaking that Fort S. George was able to stand 
successfully against the siege by the Count de Lally in 

1759. 

In the beginning of the year 1752 Call accompanied 
Captain (afterwards Lord) Clive in an expedition 
against the French, who had possessed themselves of 
the province of Arcot, and were plundering up to the 
very gates of Madras ; and he was with him in his 



i6o CORNISH CHARACTERS 

occupation and subsequent defence of Arcot, during a 
fifty days' siege. Clive had marched from Madras 
with two hundred English soldiers and three hundred 
sepoys. He had with him eight English officers, but 
of these only two had smelt powder, whilst four. Call 
among them, were only commercial clerks forced by 
Clive's example to draw the sword. The battle of 
Coverplank, near Arcot, gained by Captain Clive in 
the February of 1752, in which the French lost all their 
artillery and were totally dispersed, cleared the pro- 
vince of their influence and established the English in 
the garrison of that capital. From Arcot the vic- 
torious army, consisting of about five hundred Euro- 
peans and one thousand natives, marched through the 
country hack to Fort S. David, when Mr. Call was 
appointed chief engineer at Madras, and eventually of 
all the Coromandel coast. 

In 1753 the French under Bussy and Dupleix were 
full of schemes to retrieve the honour of their arms, 
and to obtain the absolute empire of the Deccan and the 
south. In that year, the cession of five important 
provinces had made them masters of the sea-coast of 
Coromandel and Orissa for an uninterrupted line of 
six hundred miles, and also furnished the convenient 
means of receiving reinforcements of men and military 
stores from Pondicherry and Mauritius. But neither 
the Court of Versailles nor the French India Company 
at home had approved the grand projects of Bussy and 
Dupleix. The Court questioned the propriety of these 
wars with the English in a time of peace, and the 
Company was impatient at the cost of these wars, and 
doubted whether the territorial acquisitions could be 
maintained profitably to themselves. The English 
Company also was impatient at the heavy outlay, and 
was willing to leave the French in possession of the 



SIR JOHN CALL, BART. i6i 

Northern Circars ; but Dupleix was not to be re- 
strained. He saw further into the future than did the 
merchants of Paris ; he perceived that an unrivalled 
opportunity was open to him to make all India tribu- 
tary to France, and he was determined to seize it. But 
to do so he must expel the English. He claimed to be 
Nabob of the Carnatic, and unless his authority as such 
were recognized by the English, he would make no 
terms whatever with them. But Dupleix had had his 
day. His protectors and admirers were now out of 
office, and he was recalled to France. 

As soon as war had been declared in Europe, the 
Government of Louis XV commenced preparations on 
a large scale for an expedition to the East, and the 
arrival of a great armament was daily expected at 
Pondicherry. 

It was not, however, until 28th April, 1758, that 
a squadron of twelve vessels reached the coast. These 
ships had on board a regiment of infantry eleven hun- 
dred strong, a corps of artillery, and a number of 
officers, all under the command of the Count de Lally, 
a veteran officer of Irish extraction, who had been all 
his life in the service of France. He had been ap- 
pointed Governor-General of the French possessions 
in India. He was a man of great ability and ambition, 
and was animated by intense and passionate hatred of 
England. Had he been supported from home, he would 
almost certainly have made France predominant in the 
peninsula. No sooner was he landed than he organized 
an expedition against Fort S. David, and in June, 1758, 
he captured it. He then prepared to take Madras as a 
preliminary to an advance on Bengal, and he hoped to 
drive the English out of Calcutta. But he was without 
resources ; there was no money to be had at Pondi- 
cherry. At last he raised a small sum, chiefly out of 

M 



i62 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

his own funds, and began the march to Madras ; his 
officers preferring to risk death before the walls of 
Madras to certain starvation within the walls of Pondi- 
cherry. Lally reached Madras on the 12th December, 
1758, and at once took possession of the black or 
native town, commanded by Fort S. George, and 
began the siege of that fort with vigour. Call was 
within. It was due to him that the defences were 
in such a condition that the garrison could look 
with confidence to withstand a siege. We hear, in- 
deed, nothing of any active part taken by him during 
the progress of the siege, but undoubtedly his know- 
ledge and talent had much to do with rendering the 
defence effective. The real command was with Major 
Laurence and Mr. Pigot. The total force collected was 
1758 Europeans and 2220 sepoys. On the other side 
Lally had an army of 2700 Europeans and 4000 native 
troops. 

On 14th December the French took possession of 
the black town, which was open and defenceless ; and 
there the soldiers, breaking open some arrack stores, 
got drunk and mad, and committed great disorders. 

Taking advantage of this, a sortie was resolved 
upon, and six hundred chosen men, under the com- 
mand of Lieutenant-Colonel Draper and Major Brere- 
ton, with two field-pieces, rushed into the streets of the 
black town. Unluckily the drummers, who were all 
little black boys, struck up the "Grenadiers' March" 
too soon and gave warning to the French, who left off 
their drinking and plundering, and, running to their 
arms, drew up at a point where the narrow streets 
crossed at right angles. Those who were drunk were 
joined by those who were sober, till the whole number 
far exceeded that of the English detachment. If Bussy, 
who was at hand, had made one of the bold and rapid 



SIR JOHN CALL, BART. 163 

movements which he had been accustomed to make 
when acting on his own responsibility, he might have 
taken the English in rear. But he 'was sulky, and 
jealous of Lally, and remained inert. When Draper 
saw that he must retreat, he found that all his 
drummer-boys who should sound the recall had run 
away. He, however, managed to bring off his troops, 
leaving two field-pieces behind, and having lost or 
killed, wounded and prisoners, about two hundred 
men. 

The siege dragged on. Most of Lally's heavy artil- 
lery was still at sea, and a corps of sepoys captured 
and spiked his only 13-inch mortar, which was coming 
by land. All his warlike means were as deficient 
as those of the garrison were perfect, and dissen- 
sions and ill-will against him increased among his 
ofHcers. 

For six weeks the French were without any pay, and 
during the last fifteen days they had no provisions ex- 
cept rice and butter. Then the ammunition of the 
besiegers failed. On the 15th February, 1759, he re- 
solved on raising the siege. He had thrown away his 
last bomb three weeks before, and he had blazed away 
nearly all his gunpowder. Pouring forth invectives 
and blaming every one but himself, Lally decamped on 
the night of the 17th as secretly and expeditiously as 
he could. 

In March, 1760, Call was employed in reducing 
Karikal, and at the latter end of the year and in the 
beginning of 1761 he was employed as chief engineer 
under Sir Eyre Coote in the reduction of Pondicherry, 
which, after it had been battered furiously during two 
days, surrendered at discretion. Then the town and 
fortifications were levelled with the ground. A few 
weeks after the strong hill-fortress of Gingi surren- 



i64 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

dered, and the military power of the French in the 
Carnatic was brought to an end. 

In 1762 Call had the good fortune, when serving 
under General Cailland, to effect the reduction of the 
strong fortress of Vellore, one hundred miles west of 
Madras, which has since been the point d*^appui of the 
English power in the Carnatic. 

In July, 1763, Mahomed Usuff Cawn, a native of 
great military talent, employed in the service of the 
English, for usurping the government of Madura and 
Tinnevelly, the two southerrimost provinces of the 
peninsula, had to be dealt with summarily. A con- 
siderable force marched against him, under the com- 
mand of Colonel Monson, of His Majesty's 69th 
Regiment. Call acted as chief engineer under him, 
till the heavy rains in October obliged the English 
army to retire from before Madura. Eventually that 
place and Palamata were reduced, and Mahomed Usuff 
Cawn was taken and hanged. 

At the latter end of 1764 Call went into the Tra van- 
core country to settle with the Rajah for the arrears of 
tribute due to the Nabob of Arcot. Having satis- 
factorily accomplished that business and other concerns 
with southern princes, he returned to Madras in 
January, 1765, and took his seat at the Civil Council, 
to which he was entitled by rotation, and he obtained 
the rank of colonel. 

During a great part of the war with Hyder Ali in 
1767 and 1768 Call accompanied the army into the 
Mysore country, and whilst he was there the Company 
advanced him to the third seat in the Council, and he 
was strongly recommended by Lord Clive to succeed 
to the government of Madras on the first vacancy. 
But news reached him of the death of his father, and 
he made up his mind to return to England. He had 



SIR JOHN CALL, BART. 165 

managed to scrape together a very considerable fortune, 
and he desired to spend the rest of his days in the 
enjoyment of it. He embarked on February 8th, 1770, 
after a service of nearly twenty years, and he landed at 
Plymouth on July 26th. 

He bought Whiteford, in the parish of Stoke Clims- 
land, and greatly enlarged the house. In 1771 he was 
appointed Sheriff of Cornwall, and in March, 1772, 
he married Philadelphia, third daughter of Wm. 
Battye, m.d., a somewhat distinguished physician 
living in Bloomsbury. 

From this period till the autumn of 1782 he lived in 
retirement at Whiteford, 

Whilst in India, Call had not forgotten his parents 
and sister at home, and had sent to his mother priceless 
Indian shawls, which she, not knowing their value, cut 
up and turned into under-petticoats for herself and 
daughter and maids. A pipe of Madeira sent to the 
father was also as little appreciated. It was distributed 
among the farm-labourers during harvest time to 
economize the cider. 

Now that he was in England and wealthy, he re- 
solved on doing something for his sister. She had 
married Cadwalader Jones, the vicar of the parish, and 
the vicarage was a small, mean building, so Cadwalader 
Jones had taken the manor house that was near the 
church on a long lease from the Orchards, who were 
lords of the manor. This house had been a cell of 
Hartland Abbey, but at the Restoration had been given 
to the Chammonds. That family had died out, and 
now it had come to the Orchards, owners of Hartland 
Abbey. Call rebuilt the house, or, to be more exact, 
built on a modern house to the old, and installed Cad- 
walader and his sister in the new mansion ; he also 
made for them a large walled garden. When he did 



i66 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

this, he was under the impression that the property 
belonged to Cadwalader, and not till he had completed 
his building did he learn that Mr. Jones had only a 
lease of it. Moreover, Mrs. Jones did not live to enjoy 
the new house very long, as she died in 1780, and then 
Cadwalader married again. In course of time Cad- 
walader went to join his ancestors, and thereupon Mr. 
Hawkey saw and loved the widow and the mansion, 
and married her. Thus it came about that the manor 
house built for Mrs. Jane Jones passed into other 
hands. But thus it happens also that through Miss 
Charlotte Hawkey we have some account of Sir John 
Call. 

Lord Shelburne, when Prime Minister, being desirous 
of investigating some of the existing abuses and re- 
forming some of the public departments, fixed on Call 
and engaged him along with Mr. Arthur Holdsworth, 
of Dartmouth, to inquire into the state and manage- 
ment of Crown lands, woods, and forests, which had 
long been neglected ; Call had seen this with regard to 
the Duchy property at his doors, and had drawn atten- 
tion to it. In November, 1782, they made their first 
report ; but a change of Ministry taking place soon 
after, their proceedings were interrupted till the Duke 
of Portland, then First Lord of the Treasury, authorized 
them to continue their investigation. Before they had 
gone far another change took place in the Ministry, 
and Pitt became Prime Minister. These frequent 
interruptions interfered with the progress of the investi- 
gation, and to obviate that, in 1785-6 Sir Charles 
Middleton, Call, and Holdsworth were appointed per- 
manent Parliamentary Commissioners. 

Call became a banker, a manufacturer of plate-glass, 
and a copper-smelter. He designed and saw to the 
execution of the Bodmin gaol in 1779. He was elected 



SIR JOHN CALL, BART. 167 

M.P. for Callington in 1784, and retained his seat till 
1801. On July 28th, 1791, he was created a baronet, 
and granted as his arms, gules, three trumpets fessewise 
in pale, or; as crest, a demi-lion ramp, holding between 
the paws a trumpet erect, or. 

By his wife he had six children. In 1785 he pur- 
chased the famous house of Field-Marshal Wade, in 
Old Burlington Street.. He became totally blind in 
1795, and died of apoplexy at his residence in town on 
March ist, 1801, and was succeeded in the baronetcy 
by his son, William Pratt Call, who died in 1851, 
leaving a son, William Berkeley Call, the third baronet, 
who died in 1864, and with the son of this latter, Sir 
William George Montague Call, the fourth baronet, 
the title became extinct. It will be noticed that the 
two last affected aristocratic Christian names, Berkeley 
and Montague. Whiteford was sold to the Duchy of 
Cornwall, and all the noble trees in the park were cut 
down and turned into money, and the mansion con- 
verted into an office for the Duchy. Davies Gilbert, in 
his Parochial History of Cornwall, tells a couple of 
anecdotes of Sir John, but they are too pointless to 
merit repetition. 

Call was one of those admirable, self-made men who 
have been empire-makers in the East, and, better than 
that, have been makers of the English name as 
synonymous with all that is powerful and true and just. 
He well deserved the title accorded to him. He was a 
man of whom Cornwall may be proud, and it needed 
no trumpets in his arms and fictions about the origin of 
his family to make the name honourable. 

As Dr. Johnson said, "There are some families 
like potatoes, whose only good parts are under- 
ground." 

The authorities for the life of Sir John Call are Play- 



i68 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

fair's British Family Antiquity, 1809 ; Clement R. 
Markham's Memoir on the Indian Surveys, 1878 ; H. 
G, NichoU's Forest of Dean ; and Neota, by Charlotte 
Hawkey, 1871. 

The grant of the baronetcy to Sir John Call, dated, 
1795, is now in the Museum of the Royal Institution 
of Cornwall, at Truro. 



JOHN KNILL 

IN August, 1853, appeared the following accouni 
in the GentlemarCs Magazine: — 
"An eccentric old gentleman of the nam« 
Knill, a private secretary some fifty or sixtj 
years ago to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, becom^ 
ing afterwards collector of the port of S. Ives, buili 
a three-sided pyramid of granite on the top of a higl 
hill, near the town of S. Ives. The pyramid is repre 
sented as a pocket edition of an Egyptian one, and ir 
it this gentleman caused a chamber to be built, with £ 
stone coffin, giving out his intention to be buried there 
and leaving a charge on an estate to the corporation o 
S. Ives for the maintenance and repair, etc., of th( 
pyramid. He, however, died in London ; and by hii 
latest will, so far from perpetuating the ostentation; 
idea, desired that his body should be given up to th( 
surgeons for dissection, a penance, it is supposed, fo: 
past follies, after which the remains were buried ir 
London. The pyramid, however, still stands as i 
landmark. On one side, in raised letters in granite 
appear the words 'Hie jacet nil.' It was understooc 
that the ' K ' and another ' 1 ' would be added when th( 
projector should be placed within; and on the othej 
side, 'Exnihilo nil fit,' to be filled up in like manner 
Knill. The mausoleum obtained then, and still bean 
the name of Knill's Folly." 

This account, full of inaccuracies, called forth e 
letter to the editor from a relative of John Knill, ai 

169 



I70 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Penrose, by Helston, dated October, 1853, which 
appeared in the November issue of the same magazine. 
He stated that John Knill was educated for the law, 
but did not adopt it as a profession. He preferred to 
accept the office of collector of customs at S. Ives. 
After a while he was sent as Inspector-General of 
Customs to the West Indies, whence he returned to his 
duties at S. Ives, after having discharged his office of 
inspectorship. In 1777 the Earl of Buckinghamshire, 
who was recorder of S. Ives, invited Mr. Knill to 
accompany him to Ireland as his private secretary, 
when he, the earl, had been made lord-lieutenant. 
The offer was accepted. 

In 1782, thirty years before his death, he erected the 
mausoleum, partly actuated by a philanthropic motive 
as affording a landmark to ships approaching the 
port, and partly by a wish to find employment for 
men at a time of considerable distress, having also 
a desire to be buried there, if the ground could be 
consecrated. This intention was afterwards aban- 
doned. 

Mr. Knill resided for some years previous to his 
death in Gray's Inn, and was a bencher of that 
society. He died there in i8ii, and was buried in 
the vaults of S. Andrew's, Hoi born. On one side of the 
monument is the word " Resurgam," On the second 
side, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," and on 
the third is no inscription at all, and the silly puns 
given by the informant of the Gentleman's Magazine 
had no existence save in the imagination of the 
correspondent. 

The same writer adds: "Though he had a wide 
circle of acquaintances and he was highly esteemed 
by all who knew him, he resisted every invitation to 
dine in private society, and for many years past dined 




JOHN KNILL 
After a picture by Opie i7i the possession of Captain Rogers 0/ Penrose 



JOHN KNILL 171 

at Dolly's Coffee House, Paternoster Row, walking 
through the chief avenues of the town in the course of 
the day, in order to meet his friends and to preserve 
his health by moderate exercise." 

We are able to supplement this scanty record from 
a memoir of him by Mr. John Jope Rogers, of Penrose, 
published in 187 1 by Cunnack, of Helston. 

John Knill was born at Callington on January ist, 
1733. His mother was a Pike of Plympton, and her 
mother was an Edgcumbe of Edgcumbe, it is stated in 
the memoir, but no entry of any such marriage is in 
the pedigree of the Edgcumbes in Vivian's Heralds' 
Visitations of Devon, 

Mr. Knill was very desirous to trace a descent from 
the family of Knill of Knill, in Hereford, but entirely 
failed to do so. 

John Knill's mother, one of the seven daughters of 
Mr. Pike, married secondly Mr. Jope, and it is thus 
that the portrait of the subject of this memoir came into 
the possession of Mr. John Jope Rogers, of Penrose, 
author of the memoir. 

John Knill, according to Davies Gilbert, "served his 
clerkship as an attorney in Penzance, and from thence 
removed to the office of a London attorney, where, 
having distinguished himself by application and in- 
telligence, he was recommended to the Earl of Buck- 
inghamshire, who, at that time, held the political 
interests of S. Ives, to be his local agent." In the year 
1762 he was appointed collector of customs at S. Ives, 
in Cornwall, and held it during twenty years, at the end 
of which time he wrote to Mr. William Praed, March 
30th, 1782: "I purpose to be in London in May, 
in order to resign my office of collector, which I 
shall finally quit at the end of next midsummer 
quarter." 



172 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

In November, 1767, he was chosen mayor of S. Ives, 
and lived in a red-brick house facing the beach, in Fore 
Street. Although mayor and collector of customs, it 
was strongly believed that he was in league with 
smugglers and wreckers. 

One day, during the latter half of the eighteenth 
century, a strange vessel ran on the rocks on the Hayle 
side of Carrick Gladden, and the crew escaped to land 
and disappeared. The ship, now a derelict, had 
apparently no owner, and next day a number of people 
boarded her, and found her full of chinaware and other 
smuggled goods. The ship's papers could not be 
found ; they had been carried off when the crew deserted 
her, and it was strongly supposed that they were de- 
stroyed, as implicating Knill and Praed, of Trevetho. 
The customs officer, Roger Wearne, went on board 
and stuffed his clothes full of china ; having a pair of 
trousers on with a very ample and baggy seat, he 
thought he could not do better than stow away some of 
the choicest pieces of porcelain there. But as he was 
getting down the side of the ship into the boat, very 
leisurely, so as not to injure his spoils, a comrade, 
getting impatient, struck him on the posteriors with the 
blade of his oar, shouting to him, "Look out sharp, 
Wearne ! " and was startled at the cracking noise that 
ensued, and the howl of Wearne when the broken 
splinters of china entered his flesh. 

In 1773 the Government sent him to Jamaica to 
inspect the ports there; he remained in the West 
Indies one year, and used his eyes and ears, for in 1779 
he wrote an account of the religion of the Coromandel 
negroes for Bryant Edwards' History of the West Indies, 
from information he then and there gathered. For his 
services he received from the Board of Customs the 
substantial sum of ;£'i5oo. He returned to his duties at 




GLASS INSCRIBED "SUCCESS TO THE EAGLE FRIGATE, JOHN 
KNILI, commander" 
From the Collection oj Percy Sate, Esq. of Glasgoiv 



JOHN KNILL 17; 

S. Ives in 1774. In 1777 he became private secretan 
to the Earl of Buckinghamshire, in Dublin, but hi 
returned to S. Ives after six months in Ireland. Ii 
1779 he speculated in a bootless search for treasure 
which the notorious pirate, Captain John Avery, wa 
supposed, on his return from Madagascar, to hav( 
secreted near the Lizard. But, as none of the Lives 
that freebooter gave any hint of his having done so 
the attempt was not the least likely to lead to satisfactor; 
results. Davies Gilbert says that Knill equipped som^ 
small vessels to act as privateers against smugglers 
but if local tradition may be relied on, these vessel 
were only nominally for this purpose, and were actu 
ally engaged in running contraband goods ; but this i 
highly improbable. 

In 1782 he was employed in the service of th 
customs as inspector of some of the western ports 
making occasional visits to London, where he settlei 
for the rest of his days. In 1784 he purchase^ 
chambers in Gray's Inn Square, where he died o 
March 2gth, 181 1, at the age of seventy-seven. H 
was painted by Opie in 1779, dressed in a plai 
suit of blue, with frilled shirt and ruffles. He mad 
his half-brother, the Rev. John Jope, of S. Cleer, hi 
sole executor. 

It was in the year 1782 that John Knill erected hi 
mausoleum on Worral Hill, on land purchased froi 
Henry, Lord Arundell, for five guineas. The tot£ 
cost of the monument was £22(i is. 6d. Sixpence 
year is paid to the owner of Tregenna for a right c 
way to the obelisk. By a deed dated May 29th, 179* 
Knill settled upon the mayor and capital burgesses < 
S. Ives, and their successors for ever, an annuity c 
;^io as a rent-charge, to be paid out of the mane 
of Glivian, in Mawgan, which sum is annually to b 



174 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

put into a chest which is not to be opened except at the 
end of every five years. Then, out of the accumulated 
sum, a dinner was to be given to the mayor, collector 
of customs, and vicar of S. Ives, and two friends to be 
invited by each of them, and £15 to be equally divided 
among ten girls, natives of S. Ives, under ten years 
old, who should, between 10 a.m. and noon on S. 
James the Apostle's Day, dance and sing round the 
mausoleum, to the fiddling of a man who was to 
receive a pound for so doing and for fiddling as the 
procession of girls went to the obelisk and returned. 
One pound was to be laid out in white ribbons for the 
damsels and a cockade for the fiddler. Some of the 
money was to go to keep the mausoleum in repair, and 
there were certain benefactions also recorded. 

The first Knillian celebration took place in July, 
1801, when, according to the will of the founder, a 
band of little girls, all dressed in white, with two 
widows and a company of musicians, marched in pro- 
cession to the top of the hill, where they danced about 
the monument, then, as Knill desired, sang the Hun- 
dredth Psalm to its old melody, and after that returned 
in the same order to S. Ives. The ceremony still takes 
place every fifth year. 

In dancing the children sing the following in chorus : — 

Shun the bustle of the bay, 
Hasten, virgins, come away ; 
Hasten to the mountain's brow, 
Leave, O leave, S. Ives below. 
Haste to breathe a purer air, 
Virg-ins fair, and pure as fair ; 
Fly S. Ives and all her treasures, 
Fly her soft voluptuous pleasures ; 
Fly her sons and all their wiles, 
Lushing in their wanton smiles ; 
Fly the splendid midnight halls ; 
Fly the revels of her balls ; 



JOHN KNILL 175 

Fly, O fly the chosen seat, 

Where vanity and fashion meet. 

Hither hasten from the ring, 

Round the tomb in chorus sing, 

And on the lofty mountain's brow, aptly dight, 

Just as we should be, all in white. 

Leave all our troubles and our cares below. 



THOMAS TREGOSS 

tA CERTAIN Roscadden going on a pilgrimage in 
/^k the days before the Reformation, and being 

r — % absent some years, was surprised on his 
-^ Ji^ return to find that his wife had borne one 
if not more children. Very much and very naturally 
put out, he consulted with one John Tregoss, who 
advised him to settle his estate upon some friend whom 
he could trust, for the use and benefit of his children 
whom he would own, and for the wife not to be left 
absolutely destitute in the event of his death. Mr. 
Roscadden approved of this counsel, and constituted 
John Tregoss his heir absolutely, but always with the 
understanding that the said Tregoss should administer 
his estate according to the wishes and instructions of 
Roscadden. But this gentleman dying soon after, John 
Tregoss entered on possession of the estate, "turned 
the wife and children out of doors, who for some time 
were fain to lye in an hog-stye, and every morning 
went forth to the Dung-hill, and there upon their faces 
imprecated and prayed that the vengeance of God might 
fall upon Tregoss and his posterity for this so per- 
fidious and merciless deed. 

"And after this, God's severe but righteous judg- 
ments fell upon Tregoss's family. For his son Walter, 
one day riding upon a Horse in a fair way, the horse 
threw him, and broke his neck : and some of his issue 
came to untimely ends, and it is observed that a curse 
hath remained ever since : and this Mr. Tregoss of 

176 



THOMAS TREGOSS 177 

whom we write was so sensible of it, that it cost him 
many fervent prayers to God for the removal of thai 
dreadful curse, as himself assured a bosom friend "— 
but it does not seem to have occurred to him to give uj 
the heritage to the Roscaddens — that is, if he were the 
possessor. 

The family of Tregose, or Tregosse, was one of th( 
oldest in the neighbourhood of S. Ives. The name; 
of Clement and John Tregose of S. Ives appear in th( 
Subsidy Roll of 1327. In the list of circa 1520, Thomai 
Tregoos' lands in Towednack were assessed at th( 
yearly value of 13s. 4d.,, and those of John Tregoz, ii 
the parish of S. Ives, at i is. ; but Thomas also had land 
at S. Ives, valued the same as those of John. 

In 1641, William Tregose, gent., had at S. Ive 
goods to the annual value of £2,. 

Thomas Tregoss, the subject of this notice, was th 
son of William Tregoss of S. Ives. His parents wer 
strong Puritans and very austere, and they hedgei 
about their son with restrictions, not suffering him t 
partake in games or any childish relaxa;tions from th 
strain of study or the contemplation of religious themes 
At first he seemed to be of poor capacity, but at the ag 
of seven years he began to show that he had a quic 
apprehension and a retentive memory. Cut off from a! 
worldly distractions, he was allowed but one directio 
in which his faculties and his ambitions could stretc 
and expand. He had not the force of character an^ 
strength of will to revolt against the numbing restraint 
that bound him in. His only play as a boy wa 
standing on a chair and preaching to his felloe 
pupils. 

He was sent to Oxford and admitted into Exete 
College, and after a few years spent there, returned t 
S. Ives ; and as the Parliamentary Commissioners hai 

N 



178 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

ejected the vicar, he was thrust in as Puritan preacher 
in 1657, and he then married a Margaret Sparrow of 
the same way of thinking. 

The life of Thomas Tregoss, as given by Samuel 
Clark in his Lives of Some Eminent Persons, 1683, 
is interspersed with Remarkable Providences and Extra- 
ordinary Judgments, but for the most part they are 
neither remarkable nor interesting. 

The following is, perhaps, an exception : — 

Shortly after his arrival at S. Ives, in the summer, 
the greater portion of the fishing season had passed 
without the pilchards appearing, and this to the great 
distress of the people. By the advice of Tregoss a day 
was set apart for humiliation and prayer, and next day 
a shoal of pilchards arrived. 

In the ensuing summer the fishermen, having taken 
a great number of fishes on the Saturday, wanted to 
spread and dry their nets on the Sunday. Tregoss 
learning this, came forth and rebuked and denounced 
God's judgment on them if they should profane the 
"Sabbath" in this manner. They did not hearken to 
him, observing that their nets must be dried or would 
rot. From that day no more pilchards visited the bay 
during that season. 

From S. Ives Tregoss was transferred to Mylor 
in October, 1659, but was ejected from the living on 
August 24th, 1660, as not ordained, and unwilling 
to receive ordination, and to subscribe to the articles 
and confirm to the liturgy. However, he continued 
to preach to a privately assembled number of puri- 
tanically minded people, and he was proceeded 
against and committed to the custody of the marshal 
in Launceston gaol, where he remained for three 
months, and was then released by order of the Deputy 
Lieutenant. 



THOMAS TREGOSS \^i 

In September, 1663, he removed to Kigilliath, nea 
Penryn. On October ist, 1664, whilst he and his wif 
were lying awake in bed, they experienced an earth 
quake shock, and this he held to be "a symbolic) 
image of that trembling Heartquake which he shortl; 
felt in his conversion." 

On January ist ensuing, he fell into deep despon 
dency and the spirit of bondage — his liver being prob 
ably out of order — till he fancied himself relieved b; 
receiving the spirit of adoption. He had been con 
verted half a dozen times before, but never befor 
preceded by an earthquake, so that there could be n( 
mistake about its reality this time. 

Fired with new zeal, he broke into Mabe church a 
the head of a number of his adherents, mounted th 
pulpit, and harangued his congregation. For this h 
was arrested and imprisoned again in Launceston gaol 
but was shortly released, July 29th, 1665 ; and he hai 
the pleasing satisfaction of knowing that a bull hai 
gored Justice Thomas Robinson, who had sent him t 
prison. 

Undeterred by what he had gone through, he agaii 
invaded Mabe church, and was again committed t 
gaol on September i8th, but was once more released 
on December 14th. 

On February 4th, 1666, he once more broke into th 
parish church of Mabe at the head of a body 
Puritans, and was again arrested and sent to th 
marshal at Bodmin, but by the order of the King wa 
at once set free. 

In 1669 he was at Great Torrington, where h 
preached, and was sent to Exeter gaol, but was at one 
bailed out. He died at Penryn in January, 1672. 

On September 4th, 1775, John Wesley preached a 
S. Ives "in the little meadow above the town." H( 



i8o CORNISH CHARACTERS 

wrote in his diary that "the people in general here 
(excepting the rich) seem almost persuaded to be 
Christians, Perhaps the prayer of their old pastor, 
Mr. Tregoss, is answered even to the fourth genera- 
tion." 



ANTHONY PAYNE 

jA NTHONY PAYNE, the " Falstaff of th( 
/^ West," was born in the manor house 

r — ^ Stratton, the son of a tenant farmer, unde 
-^ -^- the Grenvilles of Stowe. The registers d( 
not go back sufficiently far to record the date of hi; 
birth. The Tree Inn is the ancient manor house ii 
which the giant first saw the light. He rapidly sho 
up to preternatural size and strength. So vast wer( 
his proportions as a boy, that his schoolmates wer( 
accustomed to work out their arithmetic lessons ii 
chalk on his back, and sometimes even thereon t( 
delineate a map of the world, so that he might returi 
home, like Atlas, carrying the world on his shoulder 
for his father with a stick to dust out. 

It was his delight to tuck two urchins under hi; 
arms, one on each side, and climb, so encumbered witl 
"his kittens," as he called them, to a height over 
hanging the sea, to their infinite terror, and this h( 
would call "showing them the world." A proverl 
still extant in Cornwall, expressive of some unusua 
length, is "As long as Tony Payne's foot." 

At the age of twenty-one he was taken into the 
establishment at Stowe. He then measured sever 
feet two inches in height without his shoes, and hi 
afterwards grew two inches higher. He was not tall 
and lanky, but stout and well proportioned in everj 
way. The original mansion of the Grenvilles at Stowe 
still in part remains as a farmhouse. The splendid 



i82 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

house of Stowe, built by the first Earl of Bath, was 
pulled down shortly after 171 1, and it was said that 
men lived who had seen the stately palace raised and 
also levelled with the dust. This was at a little dis- 
tance further inland than the old Stowe that remains. 
The Grenvilles had also a picturesque house at Broom' 
Hill, near Bude, with fine Elizabethan plaster-work 
ceilings, now converted into labourers' cottages. 

At Stowe Anthony Payne delighted in exhibiting 
his strength. In the hurling-ground a rough block 
of stone is still pointed out as "Payne's cast," lying 
full ten paces beyond the reach whereat the ordinary 
player could " put the stone." 

It is said that one Christmas Eve the fire languished 
in the hall. A boy with an ass had been sent into the 
wood for faggots. Payne went to hurry him back, 
and caught up the ass and his burden, flung them over 
his shoulder, and brought both into the hall and cast 
them down by the side of the fire. 

On another occasion, being defied to perform the 
feat, he carried a bacon-hog from Kilkhampton to 
Stowe. Then came the Civil War, when Charles I 
and his Parliament sought to settle their differences 
on the battlefield. Cornwall went for the King, and 
Anthony Payne had the drilling and manoeuvring of 
the recruits from Kilkhampton and Stratton. At one 
time Sir Beville Grenville had his head-quarters at 
Truro, but the great battle of Stamford Hill, May i6th, 
1643, was fought but eight miles from Stowe, and on 
the night preceding it Sir Beville Grenville slept 
in his house at Broom Hill. The battle was des- 
perate, the Royalist soldiers being outnumbered, 
and attacked ; amidst them was Anthony Payne, 
mounted on his sturdy cob Samson,, rallying his 
troopers and terrorizing the enemy, who fled. At 




ANTONY PAYNE 
From the picture by Sir Godfrey Kneller 



ANTHONY PAYNE 183 

the next pitched battle at Lansdown, near Bath, the 
forces of the King were defeated and Sir Beville was 
killed. Anthony Payne, having mounted John Gren- 
viHe, then a youth of sixteen, on his father's horse, had 
led on the Grenville troops to the fight. The Rev. 
Rj S. Hawker gives a letter from the giant to Lady 
Grace Grenville, conveying to her the news of the death 
of her husband ; but it is more than doubtful whether 
this be genuine. He says of it : " It still survives. It 
breathes, in the quaint language of the day, a noble 
strain of sympathy and homage." It does not exist 
except in Mr. Hawker's book, and is almost certainly 
a fabrication by him. 

At the Restoration, Sir John Grenville was created 
Earl of Bath, and was made governor of the garrison 
of Plymouth, and he then appointed Payne halberdier 
erf the guns. The King, who held Payne in great 
favour, made him a yeoman of his guards, and Sir 
Godfrey Kneller, the Court artist, was employed to 
paint his portrait. 

Whilst in Plymouth garrison an incident occurred 
that has been recorded by Hawker. At the mess- 
table of the regiment, during the reign of William 
and Mary, on the anniversary of the day when 
Charles I had been beheaded, a sub-officer of Payne's 
own rank had ordered a calf's head to be served 
up. This was a coarse and common annual mockery of 
the beheaded king indulged in by the remnants of the 
old fanatical Puritan party. When Payne entered 
the room his comrades pointed out the dish to him. 
Anthony flared up, and flung the plate and its 
contents out of the window. A quarrel and a 
challenge ensued, and at break of day Payne and 
his antagonist fought with swords on the ramparts, 
and Anthony ran the offender through the sword- 



i84 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

arm and disabled bim, as he shouted, • ' There's sauce 
for thy calf's head." 

Hawker, who tells the story, supposed that the inci- 
dent occurred during the reign of George I. But 
Anthony died at an age little short of eighty, and was 
buried at Stratton July 13th, 1691, and William of 
Orange did not die till 1702. 

After his death at Stratton, which took place in the 
house where he was born, neither door nor stairs 
would afford egress for the large coffined corpse. The 
joists had to be sawn through, and the floor lowered 
with rope and pulley, to enable the giant to pass out to 
his last resting-place, under the south wall of Stratton 
Church. 1 

The history of the vicissitudes through which went 
the painting by Kneller is peculiarly interesting. 

When Stowe was dismantled, on the death of the 
Earl of Bath, the picture was removed to Penheale, 
another Cornish residence of the Grenville family. 

But here the portrait of him who had done so muck 
for the house was not valued, and was soon forgotten. 
Gilbert, the Cornish historian, in one of his rambles, 
whilst staying at an old inn in Launceston, was in- 
formed that this painting was still extant, and he 
went to Penheale, where the farmer's wife occupying 
the house said that she did indeed possess "a carpet 
with the effigy of a large man on it," that had beem 
given to her husband by the steward on the estate. It 
was rolled up, and in a bad and dirty condition. She 
gladly sold it to C. S. Gilbert for ;^8. On Gilbert's 
death his effects were sold at Devonport, and a stranger 
bought it for £/[2. In London it was recognized as 
the work of Kneller, and was resold for the sum of 
;^8oo. It next appeared amongst the effects of the late 

' The hole is still shown in the Tree Inn, Stratton. 



ANTHONY PAYNE 185 

Admiral Tucker, at Trematon Castle; and when the 
sale took place this picture was bought by a gentleman 
in Devon. Finally Mr. (now Sir) Robert Harvey pur- 
chased it, and most generously presented it to the 
Royal Institution of Cornwall. 

The authorities for Anthony Payne are Hawker's 
Footprints of Former Men in Corn-mall; the Journal 
of the R. Inst, of Cornwall, Vol. X, 1890-1 ; Wood 
(E. J.),, Giants and Dwarfs, 1868. 

Next in size to Anthony Payne among big Cornish- 
men was Charles Chilcott, of Tintagel, who measured 
6 feet 4 inches high, and round the breast 6 feet 
9 inches, and who weighed 460 pounds. He was 
almost constantly occupied in smoking, three pounds 
of tobacco being his weekly allowance. His pipe was 
two inches long. One of his stockings would contain 
six gallons of wheat. He was much gratified when 
strangers came to visit him, and to them his usual 
address was, "Come under my arm, little fellow." He 
died in his sixtieth year, 5th April, 1815. 



NEVIL NORTHEY BURNARD 

WAS the son of George Burnard, a stone- 
mason, who lived at Penpont, Altarnon, 
in a house with mullioned windows and 
a newel staircase, said to have been the 
old manor house of Penpont. He was born in 1818, 
and was baptized on November ist in that year. 

The only education Nevil received was from his 
mother, who kept a dame's school and made straw 
bonnets in her spare time. 

He was mortar-boy to his father, and would often 
slip away and cut figures of men and animals on an old 
oak door, getting many a "lacing " for not minding his 
proper work. His earliest tools were nails, which he 
sharpened on a grinding-stone, before he had any 
chisels. 

There was at that time no machinery for facing slate 
slabs ; so he used an old French " burr" — i.e. part of 
a French millstone. Such millstones were constructed 
in four parts, cemented together. This " burr" he put 
into a rough frame of wood, and used it like a plane 
over the face of the slate, which was laid on a bench, 
or "horse." The existing examples of slabs worked 
in this way are most excellent, in flatness and in 
smoothness. 

The Delabole slate had been employed for many 
centuries for tombstones and monuments, and lent 
itself surprisingly to being sculptured. In the North 
Cornish churches are numerous examples of monu- 

186 




NEVIL NORTHEY BURNARD 

From a. bas-relief by the sculptor himself, in the possession of S, Pearn, Esq. , 

Altarnon 



NEVIL NORTHEY BURNARD 187 

ments richly sculptured with heraldic figures of the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, all on slate, and 
sharp to this day as when they left the workshop. 

At the age of fourteen Nevil cut a tombstone to his 
grandfather ; that is now in Altarnon churchyard, 
and affords evidence of skill, artistic sense, and fine- 
ness of detail. There are other stones of his in the 
same churchyard ; also one or two by his brother 
George. An old man is still alive in Altarnon who 
used to sharpen the nails on a grindstone for Burnard, 
with which he did his carving on slate. 

At fifteen he left Altarnon. Wesley's head, over the 
porch of the old Meeting-house, Penpont, was cut by 
him when he was sixteen. 

From Altarnon he went to Fowey, and the late Sir 
Charles Lemon, of Carclew, took him by the hand. 
At the age of sixteen he carved in slate the group of 
Laocoon, sent in 1834 to the Exhibition of the Royal 
Cornwall Polytechnic Society at Falmouth. This 
carving in bass-relief, executed by a boy from a wild 
moorland village, without instruction, copied from 
a wood-cut in the Penny Magazine, and with tools of 
his own making, was considered so very remarkable 
a production that the Society awarded him a silver 
medal. Nevil was sent to London, and through Sir 
Charles Lemon's influence was presented to the Queen 
and Prince Consort, and he was allowed to cut a profile 
of the Prince of Wales, then a boy, and this portrait 
was sent to Osborne, and was approved by the Royal 
parents. Sir Charles Lemon further introduced the 
lad to Chantrey, who secured for him employment as a 
carver in one of the most celebrated ateliers in London. 

Burnard reproduced his profile of the Prince of 
Wales in marble for the Public Hall at Falmouth, and 
the general opinion expressed upon it was that it amply 



i88 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

sustained the early expectation which had been formed 
of his talents. 

Thus fairly launched in his profession as a carver in 
London, he found employment in the studios of the 
best sculptors of the day, as Bailey, Marshall, and 
Foley ; and there was no lack of work, and no falling 
short of pay. 

Caroline Fox, in her Memories of Old Friends^ says : — 
" 1847, October 4th. — Burnard, our Cornish'sculptor, 
dined with us. He is a great, powerful, pugilistic-look- 
ing fellow at twenty-nine ; a great deal of face, with all 
the features massed in the centre ; mouth open, and all 
sorts of simplicities flowing out of it. He liked talking of 
himself and his early experiences. His father, a stone- 
mason, once allowed him to carve the letters on a little 
cousin's tombstone which would be hidden in the grass ; 
this was his first attempt, and instead of digging in the 
letters he dug around them, and made each stand out in 
relief. His stories of Chantrey very odd : on his death 
Lady Chantrey came into the studio with a hammer and 
knocked off the noses of many completed busts, so that 
they might not be too common — a singular attention to 
her departed lord. Described his own distress when 
waiting for Sir Charles Lemon to take him to Court : he 
felt very warm, and went into a shop for some ginger- 
beer ; the woman pointed the bottle at him, and he was 
drenched. After wiping himself as well as he could he 
went out to dry in the sun. He went first to London 
without his parents knowing anything about it, because 
he wished to spare them anxiety, and let them know 
nothing until he could announce that he was regularly 
employed by Mr. Weekes. He showed us his bust of 
the Prince of Wales — a beautiful thing, very intellectual, 
with a strong likeness to the Queen — which he was 
exhibiting at the Polytechnic, where.it will remain." 




WESLEY'S HEAD OVER THE OLD MEETING-HOUSE, PENPONT, ALTARNON 
Cut by Buriiardivhen \i years nf age 




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NEVIL NORTHEY BURNARD 189 

" 1849, March ist. — Found a kindly note from 
Thomas Carlyle. He has seen ' my gigantic country- 
man,' Burnard, and conceives that there is real faculty 
in him ; he gave him advice, and says he is the sort of 
person whom he will gladly help if he can. Burnard 
forwarded to me, in great triumph, the following note 
he had received from Carlyle with reference to a pro- 
jected bust of Charles Buller : 'February 25th, 1849. . . . 
Nay, if the conditions never mend, and you cannot get 
that Bust to do at all, you may find yet (as often turns 
out in life) that it was better for you you did not. 
Courage ! Persist in your career with wise strength, 
with silent resolution, with manful, patient, unconquer- 
able endeavour ; and if there lie a talent in you (as 
I think there does), the gods will permit you to develop 
it yet. — Believe me, yours very sincerely, T. Carlyle.' " 

On the return of Richard Lander from Africa, after 
having traced the Niger through a great part of its 
course, Burnard was commissioned to execute a statue 
of the explorer for the column erected in Lander's 
honour at Truro. His only other public work of any 
consequence was the statue of Ebenezer Elliott, the 
Corn-law Rhymer, for the market-place of Sheffield ; 
but he was employed in executing portrait busts of 
many men of importance, as General Gough, Professor 
John Couch Adams, his fellow- Cornishman, Pro- 
fessor Ed. Forbes, and one of Makepeace Thackeray, 
which Burnard gave as a present to the Cottonian 
Library at Plymouth, where it now stands above the 
door. 

He exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1855, 1858, 
i866, and 1867. He married in London, but lost his 
wife, and then took to drink. The boys, as he said, 
jeered at him, and called him " Old Burnard." 

As a man, he was tall and big, with an enormous 



igo CORNISH CHARACTERS 

head which no ordinary hat would fit ; so that his hats 
had to be made for him. 

Eventually he went "on tramp," paying periodical 
visits to old friends at Altarnon. He would make 
sketches, draw portraits, at farms and in public-houses ; 
was ready to write an article for a newspaper, or to 
make an election squib, for either side ; and was, in fact, 
as clever with his pen and pencil as he was with chisel. 

He was a most entertaining companion, and able to 
converse on any subject. 

Thus he lived by his wits, mixing with the highest, 
but by preference with the lowest. The last time he 
visited Alta;cnon was in 1877, three years before his 
death ; he remained there on that occasion for a week, 
with hardly any clothes to his back, and was boarded 
by his old playmate, Mr. S. Pearn, and slept in the 
common lodging-house, Five-lanes. After having.been 
fitted out with fresh clothes by some friends he pro- 
ceeded to the west of the county. 

During this last visit at Altarnon he drew some large 
pencil heads, which show a firm and delicate hand, but 
he delighted in minute execution. There is also 
evidence that his mind at this time was as steady as 
his hand, for he composed a poem on the death of Mr. 
F. Herring, one or two verses of which may be given. 

I stood beside the spot where late you laid him, 
The spot to each of us most hallowed ground ; 
After the angels had in white array'd him. 
And his smooth brows with flowers immortal crown'd. 



Who in the wilderness would wish to wander. 
Whose feet have trodden once the promised land ? 
Believe that all is well, nor pause to ponder 
On things that mortals cannot understand. 
He is most bless'd that is the firmest trusting, 
Believing One that's wiser far than he, — 
Is, for his good, the balance still adjusting ; 
So — tell my parents not to mourn for me. 





o 

H 

a 

O 



NEVIL NORTHEY BURNARD 191 

I now can see what might have been my story, 
Had I remained through man's allotted day : 
(Sorrow for joy, dark age for youth and glory :) 
And bless the love that hastened me away. 
And wafted me across the mystic river, 
Where all discords and elements agree, 
Calmed by His word, that can from death deliver. 
So tell my loved ones not to mourn for me. 

He was equally ready to lampoon any one, whether 
friend or foe ; probably accommodating his muse to the 
humour of those with whom he happened to be. 

One day he had been making a sketch of a farmer 
called NicoU, and resorted to the public-house in Lis- 
keard with his patron. Whilst there he scribbled on a 
piece of paper and handed to his friend Nicoll : — 

Cash is scarce, and fortune's fickle ; 
I should like to draw some silver now, 
As I've all day been drawing nickel. 

There is at Penpont House, Altarnon, a small 
profile head of Burnard executed by himself. It 
is a cameo in plaster of Paris. He is said to have 
sketched his face by looking in a mirror, and then 
cut an intaglio in slate from his drawing. 

Nevil N. Burnard died in the Union, Redruth, of 
heart and kidney complaint, 27th November, 1878. 



SIR GOLDSWORTHY GURNEY, KNT., 
INVENTOR 

THIS man of remarkable versatility and genius 
was the fourth son of John Gurney, of Tre- 
vargus ; he was born at Treator, near Pad- 
stow, on February 14th, 1793, and was 
baptized at Padstow on the ensuing 26th June. 

He was named after his godmother, a daughter of 
General Goldsworthy and a maid of honour to Queen 
Charlotte. He was educated at the Truro Grammar 
School, and during part of his holidays was wont to 
stay with a relative, the rector of S. Erth, in which 
parish lived Mr. Davies Giddy (who afterwards changed 
his name, and was better known as Mr. Davies Gilbert, 
President of the Royal Society), in whose house he 
very frequently met Richard Trevithick, a plain, un- 
pretending man, of great genius, connected with the 
neighbouring copper mines, who lived near, and who 
often consulted Mr. Giddy on mathematical calcula- 
tions connected with the steam-engine and his me- 
chanical inventions. Although so young, Mr. Gurney, 
whose natural bent was for these subjects, soon formed 
an acquaintance with this singularly original and 
talented man, and he continued during the period of 
his medical studies in correspondence with him. 

Mr. Gurney saw Trevithick's first steam-carriage in 
1804, and followed closely his improvements and ex- 
periments on locomotion, and he remembered, more- 

192 




5. C. Smith, dd. 



It^ Sha7-p, lithog. 



SIR GOLDSWORTHY GURNEY 



SIR GOLDSWORTHY GURNEY, KNT. 193 

over, the contemptuous treatment this gifted man 
received at the hands of the engineers of the day. 

His views were described as "wild theoTies," and his 
plans were scoffed at. But Mr. Giddy or Gilbert 
encouraged Trevithick to go on and not be discouraged, 
and Richard Trevithick became the inventor of the 
locomotive as well as of the high-pressure engine. His 
first locomotive was constructed to travel on common 
roads; he afterwards modified it and set it to run on 
rails at Merthyr Tydvil. The trial was made there on 
February 4th, 1804. In the year 1813 he exhibited his 
locomotive on a temporary railway, laid for the purpose 
near Euston Square, and showed the great speed it was 
capable of attaining. This speed, however, was only 
maintained while the accumulated steam in the boiler was 
worked off, but his experiment showed that, if a suffi- 
cient quantity of steam could be "kept up," as he termed 
it, the speed might be maintained for any distance and 
any length of time. But how was this to be effected ? 
That was the difficulty, and that difficulty arose out of 
another — how was a sufficient draught to be created to 
keep the fire in the furnace at full activity? As the 
locomotive moved it created a draught the reverse of 
that required for the fire, and unless a strong and steady 
draught into the furnace could be created, sufficient 
heat could not be generated to produce a sufficient and 
continuous amount of steam. 

Trevithick in his first locomotive had discharged the 
steam up the funnel to get rid of it, but without any 
idea of creating a vacuum by means of which a draught 
could be caused. Stephenson did the same. Mr. 
Smiles has claimed that the "steam-jet" was invented 
by Stephenson, but this was not the case. The steam 
used in Trevithick's and Stephenson's engines was 
waste or exhaust steam, discharging itself through the 



194 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

funnel indeed, but not filling it, so that it created no 
perceptible draught. 

Mr. Smiles says: "The steam after performing 
its duty in the cylinders was at first allowed to escape 
into the open atmosphere with a hissing blast, to the 
terror of horses and cattle. It was complained of as 
a nuisance, and a neighbouring squire threatened to 
commence an action against the colliery lessees unless 
it was put a stop to." 

Accordingly the steam was introduced into the funnel 
about half-way up at the side so as to get rid of it and 
obviate the objection of the noise. But the evidence 
that Stephenson had discovered that it could be em- 
ployed to create a draught is inconclusive. 

Goldsworthy Gurney had been placed at Wadebridge 
with Dr. Avery as a medical pupil, and there he 
married Elizabeth Symons in 1814. He settled down 
at Wadebridge as a surgeon, but his active mind would 
not let him rest as a small country practitioner ; he felt 
that he had powers and visions that would bring him 
before the public as an inventor and a benefactor. 
Accordingly he moved to London in 1820, where he 
ma,de the acquaintance of several able physicians, and 
was called to deliver a course of lectures on the elements 
of chemical science at the Surrey Institute. It was in 
1823 that he began his experiments with steam and on 
locomotion, and he abandoned the medical profession 
in order to devote himself to these researches. His 
desire was to construct an engine that would travel 
on common roads, and travel at a more rapid pace than 
horses. 

Now Stephenson, in his evidence before a Parlia- 
mentary Committee, stated that the rate at which his 
locomotive travelled was "from 3 to 5 or 6 miles 
an hour." 



SIR GOLDSWORTHY GURNEY, KNT. 195 

" Q. So that these hypothetical cases of 1 2 miles an 
hour do not fall within your general experience ? 

"A. They do not. 

" Q. Laying aside the 12 miles an hour, I think the 
rate at which these experiments were made was about 
6f miles to 7 ? 

"A. I think the average was 6J miles." 

In the first edition of Nicholas Wood's Treatise on 
Railways, 1829, occurs this passage: "It is far from 
my wish to promulgate to the world that the ridiculous 
expectations, or rather professions, of the enthusiastic 
specialist, will be realized, and that we shall see them 
travelling at the rate of 12, 16, 18, or 20 miles an hour. 
Nothing could do more harm towards their adoption or 
general improvement than the promulgation of such 
nonsense." 

Before a second edition appeared, Mr. Gurney's 
steam-jet had revolutionized the engine, and it blew 
this absurd passage out of the book and the disbelief 
out of Wood's head. 

Nicholas Wood was a viewer at Killingworth Colliery, 
and assisted George Stephenson in his experiments, and 
he first saw the steam-blast in Mr. Hackworth's Sans 
Pareil in 1829, so that gentleman had adopted it on Mr. 
Gurney's recommendation and according to his plan. 

Wood thus describes what he then saw: "Mr. 
Hackworth had, it appears, in his engine, resorted to 
the use of the waste steam in a more forcible manner 
than before used, throwing it up in a jet, and which, 
when the engine moved at a rapid rate, and the steam 
thereby almost constantly issued from the pipe, had a 
most powerful effect. The consequence was, that when 
the engine began to travel at the rate of twelve or 
fifteen miles an hour, the draught was so great that it 
actually threw the coke out of the chimney." 



ig6 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Here then is the first sight of the steam-blast to 
Nicholas Wood, fellow-worker with George Stephenson. 
He knew nothing of it before. 

But Goldsworthy Gurney's steam -blast had been 
adopted before this on steamboats. It was first applied 
to the Alligator in 1824; then to the Duchess of 
Clarence, and other steamboats. It had ma^e its way 
into France. 

In the Lords' Committee Report of 1849 on "Acci- 
dents in Mines," a Mr. Keene, engineer of Bayonne, 
was examined. 

" Q. Have you ever seen Mr. Gurney's plan used on 
the Continent? 

" ^ . It has been used on the Continent for producing 
draughts in furnace-chimneys. 

' ' Q. Furnace-chimneys — for what purpose ? 

^^ A. Where the draught has been sluggish ; I used it 
to get a stronger draught on board a steamboat in 1830, to 
enable me to stem the strong currents of the Garonne. 

" Q. Have you any knowledge of some experiments 
made by Mr. Gurney in the year 1826 with respect to 
the power of the steam-jet ? 

'M. I saw frequent experiments made by Mr. Gurney 
in 1826 to produce draught by the action of high-pressure 
steam, exactly in the same way as it is now employed 
for producing ventilation in the collieries ; that is, 
there were a number of jets of about a quarter to three- 
eighths of an inch diameter, communicating directly 
with a high-pressure boiler ; the cock being open, the 
full steam from the boiler was brought upon those jets, 
and a draught was produced by their action in the 
chimney-shaft. 

" (J. In the chimney-shaft of a locomotive engine? 

" yl. In the chimney-shaft of a locomotive and in the 
shaft of a factory; the experiments were tried in various 



SIR GOLDSWORTHY GURNEY, KNT. 197 

ways. I saw these experiments frequently ; many 
other persons saw them at the same time ; and I em- 
ployed the same myself shortly afterwards for a like 
purpose abroad." 

Mr. Keene in his evidence further stated, in answer 
to the question whether Mr. Gurney's experiments 
were open to the public : — 

"Many prersons visited the place daily, and the 
carriage went out into the road, and into the barracks, 
and was often surrounded by a group of persons. It 
was understood and known how this draught was 
procured, because the passage of the steam was heard 
up the chimney when the carriage was still, and the 
great draught of the furnace was the occasion of 
remark by everybody who was around it ; they were 
quite surprised how such a great current could be 
produced with so small a height of chimney : it was 
a very remarkable thing, and drew attention from 
everybody around at that time." 

The principle of the action of the steam-blast was 
simple enough. It was to fill the funnel with high- 
pressure steam, which would act much as the sucker 
in a pump, exhaust the air and draw up air through 
the furnace, as the cone of steam escaped out of the 
funnel. To act thus, the steam must completely fill 
the chimney, allowing of no down draught. 

This was what had entirely escaped Trevithick and 
Stephenson. Up to the discovery of the steam-jet by 
Gurney, the waste steam, as has been stated, was use- 
lessly dispersed through the chimney. 

In 1827, Gurney took a steam-carriage he had con- 
structed to Cyfarthfa, at the request of Mr. Crawshay, 
and -while there applied his steam-jet to the blast- 
furnaces. This gave a great impetus to the manu- 
facture of iron. 



igS CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Stephenson now adopted it, and employed it for his 
locomotive the Rocket, that ran on the Liverpool and 
Manchester Railway in October, 1829. Previously on 
one occasion Stephenson had run his engine con- 
tinuously for fifty-three minutes doing twelve miles. But 
now, with the adoption of the steam-blast, it attained 
a velocity of twenty-nine miles an hour. 

"It is not too much to say that the success of the 
locomotive depended upon the adoption of the steam- 
blast. Without that, by which the intensity of com- 
bustion, and the consequent evolution of steam, were 
maintained at the highest point, high rates of speed 
could not have been kept up, the advantages of the 
multitubular boiler afterwards invented could never 
have been fairly tested, and locomotives might still 
have been dragging themselves unwieldily along at 
little more than five or six miles an hour."^ 

It had been in July of the same year that Gurney had 
made a journey in his steam-coach from London to 
Bath and back again, on the main road, at the rate 
of fifteen miles an hour. This journey, undertaken at 
the request of the quartermaster-general of the army, 
was the first long journey at a maintained speed ever 
made by any locomotive on road or rail. 

Mr. Gurney's steam-coach was, of course, provided 
with the steam-jet. 

The Mirror of December 15th, 1827, says : " Mr. 
Goldsworthy Gurney, whose name is familiar to most 
of our readers, after a variety of experiments during 
the last two years, has completed a steam-carriage on 
a new principle. We have accordingly introduced the 
annexed engraving, which will enable our readers to 
enter into the details of the machinery. First as to its 
safety, upon which point the public are most sceptical. 

' Smiles (S.), Lives of the Engineers, Vol. Ill, p. loo. London, 1862. 



SIR GOLDSWORTHY GURNEY, KNT. 199 

In the present invention it is stated that even from the 
bursting of the boiler there is not the most distant 
chance of mischief to the passengers. The boiler is 
tubular, and upon a plan totally distinct from anything 
previously in use. . . . The weight of the carriage 
and its apparatus is estimated at i J tons, and its wear 
and tear of the road, as compared with a carriage 
drawn by four horses, is as one to six. When the 
carriage is in progress the machinery is not heard. 
The engine has a 12-horse power, but may be increased 
to 16 ; while the actual horse-power in use, except in 
ascending a hill, is but eight horses. . . . Mr. 
Gurney has already secured a patent for his inven- 
tion ; but he has our best wishes for permanent 
success." 

Sir Charles Dance in 1831 ran a steam-coach of 
Gurney's make between Gloucester and Cheltenham 
five times a day for four months, and during this time 
carried three thousand passengers some four thousand 
miles, without a single accident occurring. 

There seemed to be every prospect of the steam- 
carriage superseding the mail-coach, and indeed of 
private gentlemen setting up their Gurney steam- 
carriages, as now they run their motors. But trustees 
of roads, coach-proprietors, coachmen, and other in- 
terested persons formed a strong body of opposition. 
How violent this was may be judged from the fact that 
on one occasion a pile of stones eighteen inches high 
was thrown across the road, and in struggling through 
it the axle of the coach was broken. 

But prejudice and dullness are mighty powers. 

How little, mark ! that portion of the ball, 
Where, faint at best, the beams of Science fall ; 
Soon as they dawn, from Hyperborean skies 
Embody'd dark, what clouds of Vandals rise I 



200 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Parliament interfered. Tolls on highways were 
raised to a prohibitive rate, so that the running of steam- 
conveyances was brought to a standstill. A committee 
of the House of Commons, appointed in 1831 to inquire 
into the matter, reported "that the steam-carriage was 
one of the most important improvements in the means 
of internal communication ever introduced ; that its 
practicability had been fully established ; and that the 
prohibitory clauses against its use ought to be im- 
mediately repealed." The committee recommended that 
the Turnpike Act should be repealed. It ascertained 
that upon the Liverpool and Prescot road Mr. Gurney 
would be charged £2 8s., while a loaded stage-coach 
would have to pay 4s. On the Bath road the 
same carriage would be charged £\ 7s. id., while a 
coach drawn by four horses would pay 5s. On the 
Ashburton and Totnes road Mr. Gurney would have 
to pay £2, while a coach drawn by four horses would be 
charged only 3s. On the Teignmouth and Dawlish 
road the proportion was 12s. to 2s. 

The Report of the Committee on Steam-Carriages, 
ordered to be printed by the House of Commons, 
12th October, 1831, was reasonable and just. It re- 
ported : — 

"Besides the carriages already mentioned, 'twenty 
or forty others are being built by different persons, all 
of which have been occasioned by his (Mr. Gurney's) 
decided journey in 1829.' 

"The committee have great pleasure in drawing the 
attention of the House "to the evidence of Mr. Farey. 
He states that he has no doubt whatever but that a 
steady perseverance in such trials will lead to the 
general adoption of steam-carriages ; and again, that 
what has been done proves the practicability of impel- 
ling stage-coaches by steam on good common roads, 



SIR GOLDSWORTHY GURNEY, KNT. 201 

without horses, at a speed of eight or ten miles an 
hour. 

"Much, of course, must remain to be done in im- 
proving their efficacy ; yet Mr. Gurney states that he 
has kept up steadily the rate of twelve miles per hour ; 
that the extreme rate at which he has run is between 
twenty and thirty miles per hour. 

"The several witnesses have estimated the probable 
saving of expense to the public, from the substitution 
of steam power for that of horses, at from one-half to 
two-thirds. Mr. Farey gives, as his opinion, that 
steam-coaches will very soon after their establishment 
be run for one-third of the cost of the present stage- 
coaches. 

"Sufficient evidence has been adduced to convince 
your committee — 

"That carriages can be propelled by steam on 
common roads at an average rate of ten miles per 
hour. 

"That they can ascend and descend hills of con- 
siderable inclination with facility and safety. 

" That they are perfectly safe for passengers. 

" That they are not nuisances to the public. 

" That they will become a speedier and cheaper 
mode of conveyance than carriages drawn by horses. 

"That such carriages will cause less wear of roads 
than coaches drawn by horses. 

"That rates of toll have been imposed on steam- 
carriages, which would prohibit their being used on 
several lines of road, were such charges permitted to 
remain unaltered." 

But the House of Commons would not listen to the 
recommendations of its committee, and the employ- 
ment of motors as means of locomotion on roads was 
postponed till the present age, when again dullness did 



202 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

its best to impede the adoption and to drive the manu- 
facture out of England to France. 

Mr. Goldsworthy Gurney was in advance of his time, 
and had to suffer accordingly. The committee had 
suggested that as the prohibition of steam-coaches on 
roads was a ruinous blow to Gurney, he should be 
indemnified with a grant of ;£^i6,ooo. But the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer refused the grant, and the Bill, 
after passing the Commons, was thrown out by the 
Lords. 

So the unfortunate Goldsworthy Gurney, after having 
abandoned his profession, in which he was rapidly 
gaining a large practice, and after spending ;£'30,ooo 
and five years of toil to perfect his invention, was ruined. 

Another of his inventions was the Bude light, at 
first intended for lighthouses. For this he obtained 
a patent in 1838. In its first form it consisted of a 
common Argand oil lamp of rather narrow circular 
bore and the introduction into the centre of the flame 
of a jet of oxygen. This was not, however, an original 
discovery, for it had been employed by Dr. Ure in 
Glasgow in 1806 or 1807. But it was found to be too 
expensive for use in lighthouses, nor was the brilliancy 
of the flame sufficiently heightened to lead the Masters 
of Trinity House to adopt it. 

Mr. Gurney was not discouraged. It had long been 
known that by dissecting a flame of the compound jet 
of hydrogen and oxygen upon a bit of clay a most 
vivid illumination was set forth. But Mr. Gurney sub- 
stituted lime for clay as less liable to disintegration by 
heat ; and he adopted the Argand lamp with an improve- 
ment such as had been suggested and adopted from 
Fresnel. This consisted in a lamp composed of a 
series of four, five, or six concentric wicks on the same 
plane, supplied with oil from a fountain below by 



SIR GOLDSWORTHY GURNEY, KNT. 203 

means of a pump ; and he obtained a second patent in 
1839. He next applied his principle to gas, purified 
in a peculiar manner, and burned in compound Argand 
lamps, consisting of two or more concentric rings per- 
forated with rows of holes in their upper surfaces, 
having intervals between the rings for the admission 
of an upward rush of air to maintain a high incandes- 
cence. The intensity and whiteness of the light thus 
produced by the combustion of coal-gas surpassed 
anything hitherto discovered till the production of the 
mantle-burner. 

It was he, moreover, who proposed the flash-light for 
lighthouses, as a means by which seamen might 
identify lighthouses. He proposed that a powerful 
light should be made by periodic flashes to correspond 
with the number of the lighthouse, and that every 
lighthouse along the coast should have a registered 
number, so that the number of flashes per minute 
should represent the lighthouse. 

Gurney was present at Sir W. Snow Harris's ex- 
periment on Somerset House terrace with wire for 
ships' lightning-conductors. Turning to Sir Anthony 
Carlisle, in reference to the magnetic needle which, as 
he observed, made starts on meeting the poles of a 
galvanic battery, he said with the inspiration of genius, 
"Here is an element which may, and I foresee will, 
be made the means of intelligible communication." 

Whilst engaged at the Surrey Institution he in- 
vented the oxyhydrogen blow-pipe. Before this was 
introduced the risk of accident was so great that re- 
course was seldom had to oxyhydrogen. 

Gurney applied his steam-jet to other purposes than 
propelling locomotives and exciting the ardour of 
furnaces in ironworks. By its means he extinguished 
the fire of a burning coal-mine at Astley, in Lanca- 



204 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

shire, and in 1849 another at Clackmannan, where the 
bed of coal had been burning for over thirty years. He 
also employed it for expelling noxious gases from sewers, 
and planned and superintended in 1849 the ventila- 
tion by this means of the pestilential sewer in Friar 
Street, London, which resisted all other efforts to cleanse 
it ; and he suggested to the metropolitan commissioner 
of sewers that a steam-jet apparatus should be placed 
at the mouth of every sewer emptying into the great 
main sewer by the Thames river-side. 

He was employed on the lighting, heating, and 
ventilation of the old House of Commons, and he held 
the appointment of superintendent of these functions 
from 1854 to 1863. 

He had remarked that the flame of hydrogen gas 
caused vibrations that produced musical tones, and 
in 1823 wrote on "the analogy between chemical 
and musical combinations." He suggested "an im- 
proved finger-keyed musical instrument, in the use of 
which a performer is enabled to hold or prolong the 
notes, and to increase or modify the tone at pleasure." 
In 1825 and 1833 he proposed "certain improvements 
in musical instruments." He invented a stove, and 
saw and advocated the advantage of the employment 
of circulation of hot water for the heating of a building. 
He advocated the employment of concrete for founda- 
tions where there was no rock, and to show that it was 
possible to build a house upon the sand, he reared the 
castle at Bude upon concrete floated into the shifting 
sand above high-water mark. He again was the first to 
point out and insist on the necessity for there being 
two shafts to every colliery, so as to maintain a cir- 
culation of air. 

For several years Mr. Gurney resided at Hanacott 
Manor, near Launceston, but he had also a house at 



SIR GOLDSWORTHY GURNEY, KNT. 205 

Reeds, in Poughill by Bude, and the castle at the latter 
place, which is usually let. He was knighted in 1863 — 
a tardy acknowledgment of his great services and 
extraordinary ability. The honour came too late to 
really advantage him. That same year he was stricken 
with paralysis, and therefore could do nothing in the 
way of scientific research and invention. He was 
attended till his death by his only child, a daughter, 
Miss Anna D. Gurney. He expired at Reeds on the 
28th February, 1875, and was buried at Launcells in 
the graveyard just under the south wall of the nave. 

Like Henry Trengrouse, so with Sir Goldsworthy 
Gurney — a man of genius and perseverance, and one 
who benefited mankind, received no adequate recog- 
nition in his lifetime. May posterity do for him, as 
for Trengrouse, what his contemporaries denied him. 
Mr. Smiles vainly endeavoured to refuse to credit him 
with the invention of the steam-blast ; but the writer 
of his life in the Dictionary of National Biography 
afforded him tardy justice. " One soweth and another 
reapeth " is true of all inventors with few exceptions. 
How much do we owe to Sir Goldsworthy ! He was the 
pioneer of locomotion by motors on our roads, the sal- 
vation of many lives by the ventilation of coal-mines ; 
he invented the system of heating mansions by hot 
water, the flash-light for lighthouses, the steam-blast 
revolutionizing locomotion by steam ; he showed that 
houses could be built on concrete foundations ; he dis- 
covered the limelight, the oxyhydrogen blow - pipe : 
and he was repaid with a barren knighthood when 
about to be struck down by paralysis. 

For his bounty, 
There was no winter in't j an autumn 'twas, 
That gfrew the more by reaping. 

Antony and Cleopatra, v. 2. 



THE JANES 

THE family of Jane, descended from the ancient 
family of Janes of Worcestershire, was settled 
in Cornwall at an early date. It bore as its 
arms, arg. a lion rampant az. between 3 escal- 
lops gules. It was settled in S. Winnow early in the six- 
teenth century, and at the beginning of the following 
century was at Lanhydrock and at Liskeard, at which 
latter place Thomas Jane was mayor in 1621. His son 
Joseph Jane was M.P. for Liskeard in 1625 and 1640, 
and was mayor in 1631, 1635, and 1636. He married 
Loveday, daughter of William Kekewich, in 1633. He 
was a whole-hearted Royalist, and when the King was at 
Oxford, in 1643, he attended him there. In the following 
year he was one of the Royal Commissioners in 
Cornwall, and when Charles I came to Cornwall, in 
1644, he entertained him in August in his house at 
Liskeard. 

During 1645 and 1646 he carried on a correspondence 
with Edward Hyde, afterwards Earl of Clarendon, on 
the condition of the Royalist cause in Cornwall. 
Liskeard had fallen into the hands of the Parliamen- 
tarians, but Sir Ralph Hopton defeated Ruthven on 
Braddock Down on January 19th, 1643, and recovered 
Liskeard for the King. Ruthven fled to Saltash, 
which he fortified with much expedition. 

When the Royal cause was lost the vengeance of 
the Parliament fell on Joseph Jane, and he was nearly 
ruined by the heavy composition he was forced to pay. 

206 



THE JANES 207 

In 1650, and again in 1654, ^^ was named Clerk of 
the Royal Council, but it was an empty honour ; 
Charles II could pay nothing, and the Council could 
only grumble and plot. 

Jane attempted to answer Milton's 'EiKovoKXdtrTii in a 
work, 'EiKoov aVXao-Toy, the Unbroken Image, but it was a 
poor performance. It was published in 1651; Hyde 
says, however, in a letter to Secretary Nicholas, "the 
King hath a singular good esteem both of Joseph Jane 
and of his book." 

He had a son, William Jane, baptized at Liskeard, 
22nd October, 1645, who was educated at Westminster 
School, elected student of Christ Church, Oxford, 1660, 
and graduated B.A. in 1664, and M.A. in 1667, and D.D. 
in 1674. After his ordination he was appointed lecturer 
at Carfax. He attracted the attention of Henry Comp- 
ton, who became Canon of Christ Church in 1669, by 
his sturdy loyalty and orthodoxy ; and when Compton 
became Bishop of Oxford, he chose Jane to preach the 
sermon at his consecration, and he appointed him one 
of his chaplains. 

In 1670 he became Canon of Christ Church, and was 
given the living of Winnington in Essex. In 1679 he 
received a prebendal stall in S. Paul's Cathedral and 
the archdeaconry of Middlesex. In May, 1680, he 
was appointed Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford. 
This rapid promotion was due in part to the staunch 
loyalty of his father and the losses of his family on 
that account, but also to his cool, businesslike abilities, 
and to his learning, which though not profound was 
good. 

In July, 1683, he framed the Oxford declaration in 
favour of Passive Obedience, and committed the Uni- 
versity to an opinion which subsequent events were 
calculated to stultify. 



2o8 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

As Green says: "The Cavaliers who had shouted 
for the King's return, had shouted also for the return 
of a free Parliament. The very Chief Justice who 
asserted at the trial of the Regicides, the general free- 
dom of the King from any responsibility to the Nation, 
asserted just as strongly that doctrine of ministerial 
responsibility, against which Charles the First had 
struggled. It was the desire of every royalist to blot 
out the very memory of the troubles in which monarchy 
and freedom had alike disappeared, to take up again, 
as if it had never been broken, the thread of our 
political history. But the point at which even royalists 
took it up was not at the moment of the Tyranny, but 
at the moment of the Long Parliament's first triumph, 
when that Tyranny had been utterly undone. In his 
wish to revive this older claim of the Crown, which the 
Long Parliament had for ever set aside, the young 
King found himself alone. His closest adherents, his 
warmest friends, were constitutional royalists of the 
temper of Falkland and Culpepper. Partisans of an 
absolute monarchy, of such a monarchy as his grand- 
father had dreamed of and his father had for a few years 
carried into practice, there now were none." 

The clergy in advocating passive obedience were 
actuated by the sense of the miseries through which 
England had passed during the Great Rebellion — 
better to submit under protest than to fly to arms 
again, better certainly to submit even to what was 
deemed an injustice or inexpedient, when the Crown 
was hedged about with restrictions, and when the 
ministers of the Crown were responsible to the nation. 
There was, however, a noisy and vehement party that 
went much beyond this, and one Filmer had worked 
the theory of Divine Right of the Sovereign into a 
system, that was accepted by the more crazy and 



THE JANES 209 

immoderate of the old Tory party, mainly among the 
clergy ; and the Oxford declaration went a long way in 
this direction. Men were beating about for a theory 
on which to base Government by a King, they had not 
grasped the truth that the King represents the people, 
just as does a President in a Republic, but with the 
superaddition of Divine ratification and imparted grace 
for the task of ruling, by unction and coronation. That 
the Kings of England had ever been elected, and that 
coronation was the confirma:tion by God, through the 
Church, of the choice of the people, had been forgotten 
through the prevalence of feudal ideas in the Middle 
Ages. Filmer propounded his doctrine that the Divine 
Right rested in primogeniture, and the rabid Tories, 
looking out for a theory, snatched at this for want of 
a better. 

On the very day on which Russell was put to death, 
the University of Oxford adopted by a solemn public 
act, drawn up by Jane, this strange doctrine, and 
ordered the political works of Buchanan, Milton, and 
Baxter to be publicly burned in the court of the 
schools. 

James II, in hopes of winning the Earl of Rochester 
to join the Papal Church, desired a disputation 
between some Roman divines and some of the Church 
of England, making no doubt that the former would 
be able to confound the latter. The King bade 
Rochester to choose English divines, excluding two 
only, Tillotson and Stillingfieet, dreading the latter 
as a consummate master of all controversial weapons. 
Rochester selected Simon Patrick and Jane. The 
conference took place at Whitehall on November 13th, 
1686, but no auditor was suffered to be present save 
the King. 

"The subject discussed," says Macaulay, "was the 
p 



2IO CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Real Presence. The Roman Catholic divines took on 
themselves the burden of the proof. Patrick and Jane 
said little, nor was it necessary that they should say 
much ; for the Earl himself undertook to defend the 
doctrine of his Church, and, as was his habit, soon 
warmed with the conflict, lost his temper, and asked 
with great vehemence whether it was expected that he 
should change his religion on such frivolous grounds." 
In 1685 J^"6 had been appointed to the deanery of 
Gloucester. He resigned the archdeaconry of Middle- 
sex in 1686, but retained the canonries of Christ 
Church and S. Paul's till his death. 

In 1688 James II had fled the kingdom, and the 
English nation and Parliament had accepted William 
and Mary as King and Queen of England. 

The whole fabric of Divine Right had crumbled to 
the ground. James had reduced the theory to a reductio 
ad impossibUe. This even the lay cavaliers had recog- 
nized. "A man convinced against his will is of 
the same opinion still," and it was so with the more 
fanatical Tories among the clergy. They refused to 
take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary, and 
were thrust out of their cathedral throneg and stalls 
and livings, and joined the sect of the Nonjurors. 

But Jane was not one of them. He had the good 
sense to acknowledge that the theory he had taken up 
with some ardour was as impracticable as it was 
absurd. It was cast in his teeth that he changed 
his opinion because he desired to retain his benefices. 
One need not take this view of his conduct. He 
sought William of Orange at Hungerford, and 
assured him of the adhesion of the University of 
Oxford. His enemies said that he hinted at the same 
time his readiness to accept the vacant bishopric in 
return for his services in securing this sign of devotion. 



THE JANES 211 

But nothing is more easy than to make such an 
accusation, and there is no proof that he did this. 
However, the fact that the framer of the Oxford 
declaration should have thrown over the principles 
advocated therein, laid him open to attack, and a 
shower of epigrams fell on him. His name Jane 
gave good opportunity to the wits to liken him to 
Janus, who looked two ways at once. But he showed 
no further desire to court the favour of William, and 
he opposed the projects for Comprehension favoured by 
the latitudinarians, Tillotson and Burnet. In 1689 two 
Bills had been introduced into Parliament, a Toleration 
and a Comprehension Bill. The former was to grant 
facilities of worship to the Puritans and other 
Dissenters ; the other was a Bill for altering the creed 
and the formulas and ceremonies of the Church, re- 
moving from them whatever might be distasteful to 
the Dissenters, so that all excuse might be taken from 
them for separating themselves from the Church. Both 
the King and Tillotson, who all knew was destined by 
the King to be Archbishop of Canterbury, and Burnet, 
Bishop of Salisbury, were eager to get both passed. 
Tillotson was so latitudinarian that his churchman- 
ship was nebulous. Burnet was the son of a 
Covenanter who had been hanged, had been brought 
up in Presbyterianism, had found satisfaction in the 
ministry of Calvanist pastors in Holland, and had not 
the faintest conception of the principles of the Church 
or of its true organization. 

The Earl of Nottingham advocated the Compre- 
hension Bill and drafted both. The Toleration Bill 
passed both Houses with little debate. But it was 
otherwise with the Comprehension Bill. The first 
clause in this dispensed all the ministers in the Church 
from the necessity of subscribing the Thirty-nine 



212 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Articles. Then it was provided that any minister who 
had been ordained after the Presbyterian fashion might 
be eligible to any benefice in the Church without 
ordination by the bishop. 

Then followed clauses providing that a clergyman 
might wear the surplice or not as he thought fit ; it left 
the sign of the cross optional in baptism ; and provided 
that the Eucharist need not be received kneeling. The 
concluding clause was drawn in the form of a petition ; 
it was proposed that the two Houses should request the 
King and the Queen to issue a commission empower- 
ing thirty divines of the Church of England to revise 
the liturgy, the canons, and the constitution of the 
ecclesiastical courts, and to recommend such altera- 
tions as might seem to them desirable. 

But this Bill roused serious opposition. It was felt 
by all who had any respect and feeling for the Church, 
as one in all times from the Apostolic period, who 
regarded her claim to maintain the same faith, the 
same Apostolic constitution and the same sacraments, 
as from the earliest age of the Church, that this Com- 
prehension Bill if it became law must of necessity 
alienate them from such a body — drenched with Protes- 
tantism, till scarcely a tinge of the old wine of Catholi- 
cism remained in her ; and would leave them no other 
course open than to shake off the dust of their feet 
against her and join the Church of Rome, or the 
Church of the Nonjurors. Most of the bishops who had 
taken the oaths to William and Mary were placed on 
the Commission ; and with them were joined twenty 
priests of note. Of these twenty, Tillotson was the 
most important as expressing the mind and wishes of 
the King. He was a latitudinarian, without a spark of 
feeling for historic Christianity. With him went 
Stillingfleet, Dean of S. Paul's, Sharp, Dean of Nor- 



THE JANES 213 

wich, Patrick, Dean of Peterborough, Tenison, Rector 
of S. Martin's, and Fowler. But conspicuous on the 
other side were Aldrich, Dean of Christ Church, and 
Jane, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford. 

Early in October, 1689, the commissioners assembled 
in the Jerusalem Chamber. But hardly had they met 
before Sprat, Bishop of Rochester, started up and 
denied that the Commission was legal. There was a 
sharp altercation, violent words were flung about, and 
Sprat, Jane, and Aldrich withdrew. The strength of 
the Catholic party was broken, and the rest agreed to 
sanction nearly all the changes advocated by those who 
desired to entirely alter the character of the Church. 

"They had before them," Burnet tells us, "all the 
exceptions that either the Puritans before the war, or 
the Nonconformists since the Restoration, had made to 
any part of the Church service ; they had also many 
propositions and advices that had been offered, at 
several times, by many of our bishops and divines 
upon those heads ; matters were well considered and 
freely and calmly debated ; and all digested into an 
entire correction of everything that seemed liable to 
any just objection." To guide them, as Burnet admits 
in his Triennial Visitation Charge of 1704, they were 
furnished with a great collection of the books and 
papers in which the Dissenters had at different times 
set forth their demands. The Commission was pre- 
pared to surrender everything. The chanting of 
psalms, even in. cathedrals, was to be done away with. 
The lessons from the Apocrypha were to be abolished. 
The Saints' days omitted from the Calendar, the form 
of absolution altered, remission of sins to be removed 
from it "as not very intelligible." The cross in bap- 
tism, the use of god-parents, the wearing of the 
surplice were to be optional. Episcopal ordination 



214 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

was not to be required of the Ministry. Kneeling to 
receive the Holy Communion was left to the choice of 
the Communicant ; the collects, as too concise, were to 
be blown out with pious bombast. 

It is possible that, as Calamy asserts, such altera- 
tions as these would have brought over two-thirds 
of the English Dissenters to the Established Church ; 
but it is certain that it would have driven two-thirds 
of the members of the Church, lay and clerical, out of 
her, as having forfeited her claim to be a branch of the 
Catholic Church, and they would probably have swelled 
the ranks of the Nonjurors, and made of that com- 
munion a body that would have really represented the 
Church in England. 

Owing to the secession of the Nonjurors, sees and 
benefices had been filled with men who were in sym- 
pathy with the views of Tillotson and Burnet, or who 
were only solicitous to live in the smiles of William. 
Little resistance, if any, was to be expected from the 
episcopal bench. 

When the Commission had concluded its labours, 
writs were issued summoning the Convocation of the 
Province of Canterbury. The clergy were in a ferment 
throughout England. They thought that the heritage 
of faith was going to be taken from them. The Tolera- 
tion Act had removed the disabilities of the Dissenters; 
they might build their conventicles and preach what 
and when they liked ; why, then, open the doors of 
the Church to admit them as a flood to swamp the 
faithful ? 

When the Declaration of Toleration had been issued 
by James II, in 1687, removing all disabilities from the 
Dissenters, on the sole understanding that they should 
abstain from attacking the Churches of Rome and 
England, their preachers found that they had nothing 



THE JANES 215 

to say. They preferred to be under disabilities rather 
than give up assaults on the Scarlet Woman, Babylon, 
the Beast, and Prelacy, its shadow. 

When Convocation was elected, it became evident to 
all that the bulk of the priests were against all water- 
ing down of the formulas of the Church, her faith, her 
ritual. The most important office in Convocation was 
that of Prolocutor of the Lower House. The Pro- 
locutor was to be chosen by the members ; Tillotson 
was proposed by the Protestant party as one whom the 
King delighted to honour, and who it was well known 
would be appointed to the Archbishopric of Canter- 
bury when vacant. 

On November 20th, Convocation met in Henry VH's 
Chapel at Westminster. " Compton was in the chair. 
On the right and left those suffragans of Canterbury 
who had taken the oath were ranged in gorgeous vest- 
ments of scarlet and miniver. Below the table was 
assembled the crowd of presbyters. Beveridge preached 
a Latin sermon, in which he warmly eulogized the exist- 
ing system, and yet declared himself favourable to a 
moderate reform." In a word, he blew hot and cold 
with the same breath. 

The Lower House listened, unstirred, cold and reso- 
lute. Dean Shays, put forward by the members 
favourable to Comprehension, proposed Tillotson ; 
Jane was proposed on the other side. After an 
animated discussion, Jane was elected by fifty-five 
votes to twenty-eight. 

The Prolocutor was then formally presented to the 
Bishop of London, and made, according to ancient 
usage, a Latin oration, in which he eulogized the 
Church in England as maintaining the faith as de- 
livered to the saints, and as preserving all the marks of 
the Catholic Church throughout all ages and all the 



2i6 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

world ; and he very plainly declared that no alteration 
in a downward direction would be tolerated ; and he 
concluded with the significant and well-known words, 
" Nolumus leges Angliae mutari." 

It soon became evident that the Lower House was 
absolutely determined not to have the proposed altera- 
tions made ; but the plan they adopted was to shun the 
discussion of the recommendations made by the Com- 
missioners, so as not directly to reject what they knew 
lay very near to the King's heart. With this object 
they adopted a system of tactics that in the end an- 
swered their purpose. 

"The law," says Macaulay, "as it had been inter- 
preted during a long course of years, prohibited Con- 
vocation from even deliberating on any ecclesiastical 
ordinance without a previous warrant from the Crown. 
Such a warrant, sealed with the Great Seal, was 
brought in form to Henry the Seventh's Chapel by 
Nottingham. He at the same time delivered a mes- 
sage from the King. His Majesty exhorted the assem- 
bly to consider calmly and without prejudice the re- 
commendations of the Commission, and declared that 
he had nothing in view but the honour and advantage 
of the Protestant religion in general and of the Church 
of England in particular. 

"The bishops speedily agreed on an address of thanks 
for the royal message, and requested the concurrence of 
the Lower House. Jane and his adherents raised 
objection after objection. First they claimed the privi- 
lege of presenting a separate address. When they were 
forced to waive this claim, they refused to agree to any 
expressions which implied that the Church of England 
had any fellowship with any other Protestant commu- 
nity. Amendments and reasons were sent backward and 
forward. Conferences were held at which Burnet on 



THE JANES 217 

one side and Jane on the other were the chief speak- 
ers. At last, with great difficulty, a compromise was 
made ; and an address, cold and ungracious compared 
with that which the bishops had framed, was presented 
to the King in the Banqueting House. He dissembled 
his vexation, returned a kind answer, and intimated a 
hope that the assembly would now at length proceed to 
consider the great question of Comprehension." But 
this was precisely what they were resolute not to con- 
sider. They had made up their minds on the subject 
already, but they were unwilling to fly too openly in 
the face of the King. As for trusting the bishops to 
stand firm on any principle, the Lower House knew 
that this was not to be expected. When had the 
bishops of the Established Church, since the Reforma- 
tion, ever shown firmness and united action on any 
principle, except once, and that was to oppose general 
Toleration ? 

So soon as the clergy were again assembled, a 
fresh difficulty was started. It was mooted that 
the Nonjuring bishops had not been summoned, 
and they were to be regarded as bishops of the 
Catholic Church quite as certainly as were those 
nominees of the King who had been intruded into 
their vacated thrones. 

Then it was complained that scurrilous pamphlets 
were hawked about the streets, and the people were 
being worked into a temper of opposition to Convoca- 
tion. It was asked why Convocation should be called 
together to emasculate the Church, if it was to be 
suffered to be jeered at by pamphleteers. 

Thus passed week after week. Christmas drew nigh. 
The bishops proposed, during the recess, to have a 
committee to sit and prepare business. The Lower 
House rejected the proposal ; and it becameplain to every 



2i8 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

one that it was determined not to consider one of the 
suggested concessions to Protestant prejudice. 

Moreover, it soon became evident that the Dissenters 
themselves did not desire Comprehension, Their min- 
isters were petted and made much of by the well-to-do 
yeomen and the rich merchants in country and town. 
They lived on the fat of the land, snapped up wealthy 
widows and bought broad acres. Whereas the needy 
country parson was hard pressed to wring the tithes from 
his parishioners. While the walls of exclusion of Jericho 
stood, the rams' horns brayed against them daily, and 
seven times on the Sabbath ; but so soon as the walls 
were prostrate, and every man could go up into the 
city and take up his quarters there where he liked, the 
rams' horns would have to be laid aside as superfluous 
lumber. 

The King was disappointed and offended. What he 
did was to prorogue Convocation for six weeks, and 
when those six weeks had expired, to prorogue it again, 
and many years elapsed before it was again suffered 
to assemble. 

That Convocation of 1689 saved the Church of 
England from dissolution into a formless, gelatinous, 
and invertebrate mass. 

Burnet himself, though disappointed at the time, felt 
afterwards that the determination of the Lower House 
had saved the Church at a time of crisis. "There was," 
he says, "a very happy direction of the providence of 
God observed in this matter. The Jacobite clergy who 
were then under suspension were designing to make a 
schism in the Church, whensoever they should be turned 
out and their places should be filled up by others. 
They saw it would not be easy to make a separation 
upon a private and personal account ; they therefore 
wished to be furnished with more specious pretences, and 



THE JANES 219 

if we had made alterations in the Rubrics and other parts 
of the Common Prayer, they would have pretended that 
they still stuck to the ancient Church of England, in 
opposition to those who were altering it and setting up 
new models. And, as I do firmly believe that there is a 
wise providence that watches upon human affairs, and 
directs them — so I have observed this in many instances 
relating to the Revolution ... by all the judgments we 
could afterwards make, if we had carried a majority in 
the Convocation for alterations, they would have done us 
more hurt than good." 

Burnet was morally and intellectually incapable of 
seeing that it was a case of conscience, of stantis vel 
cadentis ecclesice, and he attributed the motives of the 
recalcitrant clergy to political prejudice. 

On Jane's return to Oxford, he found another oppor- 
tunity of defending the Church, by framing the decree 
of 1690, which condemned the "Naked Gospel" of 
Arthur Burge. 

Jane had no hopes whatever of preferment from 
William, if he cared for it. In 1696 it was even 
rumoured that the King meditated t&rning him out of 
his professorship, because he had not signed the * ' Asso- 
ciation for King William." But on Anne's accession, 
all his fears were at an end. It would appear from a 
letter of Atterbury that at Oxford the University desired 
to get rid of him, because he neglected giving lectures 
on Divinity, and left the work to be discharged by a 
subordinate named Smallridge. 

In 1703 Bishop Trelawny appointed him to the 
Chancellorship of Exeter Cathedral, which he ex- 
changed for the precentorship in 1704, but he retained 
his Regius professorship to the end. Undoubtedly it 
was a great pleasure to him in the decline of his life to 
be back in the West Country. 



220 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

He resigned the precentorship of Exeter in 1706, and 
died on the 23rd February, 1707, at Oxford, and was 
buried in Christ Church. 

The writer of his life in the Dictionary of National 
Biography sums up his career with these words: "Jane 
was a clerical politician of a low type ; Calamy says 
of him, 'Though fond of the rites and ceremonies of 
the Church, he was a Calvinist in the respect of 
doctrine,' and the pleasantest thing recorded of him is 
his kindness shown at Oxford to the ejected Presby- 
terian, Thomas Gilbert." 

Calamy, as a Dissenter, was prejudiced against 
Jane ; and I do not see that he was of a low type of 
polemical cleric — because when he saw that the theory 
of government he had embraced would not bear the 
test of experience, he had the courage to reject it. 
Every man is liable to make mistakes ; it is only the 
brave man who can acknowledge that he has been 
mistaken. 

Nor was Jane alone. Compton, Bishop of London, 
and several other bishops, had appealed to William of 
Orange to come over and help the people and the 
Church of England to be free from a tyrannous and 
subversive despotism. The Earl of Danby, under 
whose administration, and with his sanction, a law had 
been proposed, which, if it had passed, would have 
excluded from Parliament and office all who refused to 
declare on oath that they thought resistance to the 
King in every case unlawful — he had seen the mis- 
take as well, and had invited William over. 

As Macaulay says: "This theory (of passive 
obedience) at first presented itself to the Cavalier as 
the very opposite of slavish. Its tendency was to make 
him not a slave, but a free man and a master. It 
exalted him by exalting one whom he regarded as his 



THE JANES 221 

protector, as his friend, as the head of his beloved party, 
and of his more beloved Church. When Republicans 
were dominant the Royalist had endured wrongs 
and insults which the restoration of the legitimate 
government had enabled him to retaliate. Rebellion 
was therefore associated in his imagination with sub- 
jection and degradation, and monarchical authority 
with liberty and ascendancy. It had never crossed his 
imagination that a time might come when a King, a 
Stuart, could prosecute the most loyal of the clergy and 
gentry with more than the animosity of the Rump or 
the Protector. That time had however arrived. Op- 
pression speedily did what philosophy and eloquence 
would have failed to do. The system of Filmer might 
have survived the attacks of Locke ; but it never re- 
covered from the death-blow given by James." 

Jane changed his opinion indeed, but so did nearly 
the whole of the Tory party and of the clergy of the 
Church. 



THE PENNINGTONS 

jA BOUT seven years ago I attended the baptism 
/% of some bells for a new church at Chateaulin, 
A — % in Brittany. The ceremony was quaint, 
■J- J^ archaic, and grotesque. The bells were 
suspended in the chancel "all of a row," dressed in 
white frocks with pink sashes round their waists. To 
each was given god-parents who had to answer for 
them, and each was actually baptized, after which each 
was made to speak for itself. The ceremony evidently 
dates from a period when the bell was regarded as 
anything but an inanimate object — it had its respon- 
sibilities, it did its duties, it spoke in sonorous tones. 
The very inscriptions on them to the present day 
prescribe something of this character — invest each bell 
with a personality, as these : — 



Also :- 



I sweetly tolling^ men do call 

To taste of meats to feed the soul. 

I sound to bid the sick repent, 

In hope of life when breath is spent. 



As late as last century we find these : — 

Both day and night I measure time for all, 
To mirth and grief, to church I call. 

And this in 1864 : — 

I toll the funeral knell, 

I ring the festal day, 
I mark the fleeting hours, 

And chime the church to pray, 
222 



THE PENNINGTONS 223 

In the Western Counties bell-ringing was a favourite 
and delightful pastime. Parties of ringers went about 
from parish to parish and rang on the church bells, 
very generally for a prize — "a hat laced with gold." 
At Launcells, where the bells are of superior sweetness, 
the ringers who rang for the accession of George III 
rang for that of George IV, there not having been a 
gap caused by death among them in sixty years. No 
songs are so popular and well remembered at bell- 
ringers' feasts as those that record the achievements of 
some who went before them in the same office. I give 
one that has never before been printed, that can be 
traced back to 18 10, but is certainly older. It relates to 
the ringers of Egloshayle. 

1. Come all you ringers good and grave, 

Come listen to my peal, 
I'll tell you of five ringers brave 

That lived in Egloshayle. 
They bear the sway in ring array. 

Where'er they chance to go ; 
Good music of melodious bells, 

'Tis their delight to show. 

2. The foreman gives the sigan-al, 

He steps long with the toe. 
He casts his eyes about them all, 

And gives the sign to go. 
Away they pull, with courage full. 

The heart it do revive. 
To hear them swing, and music ring. 

One, two, three, four, and five. 

3. There's Craddock the cordwainer first. 

That rings the treble bell ; 
The second is John EUery, 

And none may him excel ; 
The third is Pollard, carpenter ; 

The fourth is Thomas Cleave ; 
Goodfellow is the tenor man, 

That rings them round so brave. 



224 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

4. They went up to Lanlivery, 

They brought away the prize ; 
And then they went to San-Tudy, 

And there they did likewise. 
There's Stratton men, S. Mabyn men, 

S. Issey and S. Kew, 
But we five lads of Egloshayle 

Can all the rest outdo. 

5. Now, to conclude my merry task, 

I' th' Sovereign's health we join ; 
Stand every man and pass the flask, 

And drink his health in wine. 
And here's to Craddock, EUery, 

And here's to Thomas Cleave, 
To Pollard and the tenor man 

That rings them round so brave. 

Humphry Craddock died in 1839 5 John Ellery in 

1845, aged 85 years ; John Pollard in 1825, aged 71 ; 
Thomas Cleave in 1821, aged 78; John Goodfellow in 

1846, aged 80. 

But for bell-ringers there must be bells ; and who cast 
those that have been in past years and are still pealed so 
merrily? A great many were cast by the Penningtons 
of Lezant, and latterly at Stoke Climsland. The Pen- 
ningtons were an ancient family in Bodmin, resident 
there in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Perhaps because 
not being landed gentry, perhaps because they could 
not establish the right, they did not record their arms 
or give their pedigree in the Heralds' Visitations. But 
the coat they bore or assumed was a goodly one and 
simple, and therefore ancient — or, in fesse five lozenges 
azure. Robert Pennington, of Bodmin, had two sons — 
John, baptized in 1595, and Bernard two years later. 
John married at Bodmin, and had seven sons baptized 
there, one of whom was probably the progenitor of the 
Penningtons of Lezant and Stoke Climsland. The pedi- 
gree of the Exeter bell-founders of the family has not 



THE PENNINGTONS 225 

been made out ; but that they belonged to the stock 
that sprang up at Bodmin cannot be doubted. 

Bernard Pennington, baptized in 1605, was Mayor of 
Bodmin in 1666, and was a bell-founder. He died in 
1674. His son Christopher Pennington, baptized 1631, 
was also a bell-founder. He died in 1696. Christo- 
pher's son of the same name was Mayor of Bodmin in 
1726, 1727, and 1733. He died in 1749. The Pen- 
ningtons seem to have abandoned the bell-casting busi- 
ness at the beginning of the nineteenth century ; but, 
as Sir William Maclean says, "between 1702 and 
1818 these popular founders cast nearly five hundred 
bells in the county of Devon, and, it is believed, as 
many in Cornwall."' 

There are sixty-six in Devon cast by John Penning- 
ton, of Exeter. The earliest that is dated is at Payhem- 
bury, 1635, and the latest 1690 at Kentisbeare. In 
1669 T. P. and I. P. appear together on a bell at 
Merton, as if they were partners ; and ninety-five bear 
the trade-mark of Thomas and John Pennington — large 
Roman initials with a bell in outline between. The 
earliest is found at Eggesford, 1618. Sometimes they 
impressed the coin then current. At Ottery S. Mary, 
1671, and at S. Martin's, Exeter, 1675, they used a 
satirical medal representing a pope and a king under 
one face, another representing a cardinal and a bishop. 

Besides two generations of Penningtons in Exeter, 
there was, as already stated, Christopher Pennington, 
who cast a bell at Stowford dated 17 10, and one at 
Philleigh, in Roseland, with C. P. and the skeleton of 
a bell between, as did the other Pennington. But his 
earliest known is at Fremington, 1702. He was suc- 
ceeded by FitzAnthony Pennington, of Lezant, who 
in 1768, whilst crossing the Tamar in the Antony ferry 

^ Deanery of Trigg Minor, I, p. 301. 
Q 



226 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

with a bell he had cast to be set up at Landulph, w 
drowned. He is buried in the tower of Landulph, a 
on a mural tablet, beside his age, which was thirl 
eight, and the date of his death, April 30th, 1768, a 
these lines : — 

Tho' boisterous winds and billows sore 

Hath toss'd me to and fro, 
By God's decree, in spite of both, 

I rest now here below. 

After his death we have the initials of the tht 
brothers, John, Christopher, and William. From thi 
head-quarters, first at Lezant and then at Stoke Clin 
land, they itinerated through Cornwall and Devc 
casting bells wherever they could find deep clay, a 
sufficient bell-metal was provided by the parish tl 
desired to have a bell in its tower, and generally t 
bell was cast near the church for which it was intende 

There are as many as 480 • bells by this Corni 
family from 1710-1818; their latest are at Bridgen 
and Bovey Tracey, at this last date. 

William Pennington, son of the second Christoph 
entered Holy Orders and became vicar of Davidsto\ 
His progenitors had furnished the voices calling 
church from the village towers, and now this meml 
sounded within the church also calling to prayer a 
praise. His son, William Pennington, purchased 1 
site of the Priory, Bodmin, in 1788, having rebuilt 1 
house some twenty years previously under a lea 
He was mayor of Bodmin 1764, 1774, 1787, and d 
without issue io 1789, bequeathing his possessions 
his niece Nancy Hosken, daughter of his sis 
Susanna, who had married Anthony Hosken, vi 



^ At S. Breward the bells were cast in a small g-arden outside 
churchyard fence, since called " Bell garden." 



THE PENNINGTONS 227 

of Bodmin and rector of Lesneuth. Nancy married 
Walter Raleigh Gilbert, one of the gentlemen of the 
bedchamber, and descended from the ancient Devon- 
shire family of Compton Castle. As Mr. Gilbert died 
without issue, the Priory passed to his brother, and, 
consequently, wholly away from the Penningtons. 



DOCTOR GLYNN-CLOBERY 

THIS amiable and good man was born at 
Helland, 5th August, 17 19, and was the son 
of Robert Glynn, by Lucy, fourth daughter 
of John Clobery, of Bradstone, in Devon. 
A singular fatality attended this ancient family, that 
possessed a very interesting Elizabethan mansion. John 
Clobery had eight daughters and only one son and 
heir, and that son died without issue, and only three 
of the daughters married. Lucy had but the one son, 
Robert Glynn, and the fifth daughter, Mary, also only 
a son ; and as these sons died unmarried, the estate 
passed to remote connections. 

Robert Glynn assumed his mother's name and suc- 
ceeded to the estates on the death of his uncle, William 
Clobery. Robert Glynn was an M.D. and a Fellow of 
King's College, Cambridge, where he resided. He 
was a simple-minded man, and was completely taken 
in by the Chatterton forgeries, and for some time 
strenuously defended them. On which account Horace 
Walpole speaks of him with great contempt as "an 
old doting physician and Chattertonian at Cambridge." 
"I neither answer Dr. Glynn, nor a poissarde. 
Twenty years ago I might have laughed at both, but 
they are too small fry, and I am too old to take notice 
of them. Besides, when leviathans and crocodiles and 
alligators tempest and infest the ocean, I shall not 
go a-privateering in a cockboat against a smuggling 
pinnace." That was in August, 1792. 

228 



DOCTOR GLYNN-CLOBERY 229 

Dr. Glynn was very fond of seeing young gownsmen 
at his rooms, and had tea for them and conversed with 
them ; but he never drank tea himself. C. Carlyon 
says: "His custom was to walk about the room and 
talk most agreeably upon such topics as he thought 
likely to interest his company, which did not often 
consist of more than two or three persons. As soon as 
the tea-table was set in order, and the boiling water 
ready for making the infusion, the fragrant herb was 
taken, not from an ordinary tea-caddy, but from a 
packet, consisting of several envelopes curiously put 
together, in the centre of which was the tea. Of this 
he used, at first, as much as would make a good cup 
for each of the party ; and, to meet fresh demands, I 
observed that he invariably put an additional tea- 
spoonful in the teapot; the excellence of the beverage, 
thus prepared, ensuring him custom. He had likewise 
a superior knack of supplying each cup with sugar from 
a considerable distance, by a jerk of the hand which 
discharged it from the sugar-tongs into the cup with 
unerring certainty, as he continued his walk around the 
table, scarcely seeming to stop whilst he performed 
these and other requisite evolutions of the entertain- 
ment." 

Dr. Glynn or Clobery would only eat when his appe- 
tite summoned him imperiously for a meal. A faithful 
old servant was in constant attendance upon him, and, 
whenever his master called out for food, he was prepared 
to set before him some plain dish and a pewter of porter. 

Nothing would induce the doctor to believe that gout 
was hereditary. He once took occasion to mark this 
with peculiar emphasis, when a writer signing himself 
W. A. A. consulted him in his first attack, then in 
his nineteenth year. He observed, " My young 
friend, you call this gout ! Pooh, pooh ! You have not 



230 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

yet earned the costly privilege ; you must drink your 
double hogshead first." 

"But my father, sir; it is in my blood by right of 
inheritance." 

His reply was, "You talk nonsense. You may as 
well tell me you have a broken leg in your veins by in- 
heritance." 

One Sunday morning he met an undergraduate of 
his acquaintance on his way to S. Mary's Church, and 
said to him — 

" Well, my master, and whither are you going?" 

" I am going to S. Mary's," replied the young 
gownsman. 

" And who is the preacher to-day?" 

" I don't know." 

"Not know who is the preacher? Then, upon my 
word, you have no small merit in taking pot-luck at 
S. Mary's." 

During a long illness the good old doctor attended 
a poor man, of whose family party a pert, talkative 
magpie made one ; and as the patient observed that 
Dr. Glynn always, when paying a visit, had some joke 
with the bird, he thought that perhaps the doctor might 
like to possess it. Accordingly, when the poor man 
was well again, with overflowing gratitude, but with no 
money to pay a bill, he thought he could do no better 
than make his kind friend a present of the magpie ; 
and sure enough the prisoner in its cage was conveyed 
to his rooms in King's College. There the bearer met 
with a very kind reception, but was desired to carry 
back the bird with him. " I cannot," said the doctor, 
"take so good care of it as can you ; but I shall con- 
sider it mine, and I entrust it to you to keep for me ; 
and, as long as it lives, I will pay you half-a-crown 
weekly for its maintenance." 



DOCTOR GLYNN-CLOBERY 231 

The anecdote was turned into verse by Mr. Plumtre, 
and is given in Gunning's Reminiscences of Cambridge. 
When Dr. Glynn assumed the name of Clobery he 
assumed also the Clobery arms — three bats; and no 
animal could better symbolize the man, with his curious 
blindness to what was obvious to most — that the Chat- 
terton papers were forgeries. He went down to Bristol 
on purpose to examine the chest with its MS. contents. 
The fact that in one of them the invention of heraldry 
was ascribed to Hengest, and that of painted glass to 
an unknown monk in the reign of King Edmund, did 
not disturb his faith. He entered into vehement con- 
troversy with George Steevens, |in his endeavour to 
establish their genuineness. He waxed hot over it, and 
it took a good deal to put Glynn-Clobery out of his 
usual placidity and coolness. 

He set up to be a poet. His Seatonian prize poem 
on the "Day of Judgment" was thought much of at the 
time. Previously Christopher Smart had won the 
prize over and over again. Glynn wrested the laurels 
from him. This is not saying much; his poem was 
not much better, and not at all worse, than the general 
run of these prize poems. But it had the advantage 
of pleasing, and has been repeatedly republished, and 
has even obtained for the old doctor a niche in the 
temple of Poesy — a notice in a Biographical Dictionary 
of Poets. 

He died at Cambridge on February 8th, 1800, and 
at his own desire was buried at midnight in King's 
College Chapel. 



THREE MEN OF MOUSEHOLE 

IN the year 1849, Captain Allen Gardiner, an 
intrepid sailor and a religious enthusiast, formed 
the plan of converting the natives of Terra del 
Fuego and of Patagonia. He knew nothing of 
their language or habits, nothing indeed of their land. 
He was, however, possessed with the idea that he was 
called to be an apostle of those bleak and fog-wrapped 
regions. Of all inhabited spots on the earth, the Terra 
del Fuego is the most miserable. Cold, whirlwinds 
and tempests of snow and hail, frozen fogs with but 
rare glimpses of sunshine, form its climate ; and the 
natives are utterly barbarous, apparently the refugees 
from the Continent, driven out of the somewhat less 
desolate peninsula of Patagonia by the giants that now 
possess it, and in their misery sinking to the lowest 
depths to which man can descend. 

During a year or more Captain Gardiner's efforts to 
rouse interest in his scheme, sufficient interest to make 
the money flow, had met with no success. He applied 
to the Moravian Brethren to take up the mission ; they 
declined. Then he placed the matter before the Scottish 
Establishment, but the canny Scotchmen would nae 
think ov it. At last a lady at Cheltenham furnished 
him with ;^7oo, and this, with ^300 from his own 
private purse, formed all the resources on which he 
acted. As he could not afford to charter a schooner, 
he had four open boats built for him at Liverpool. 
Two of these were launches of considerable size, to 

232 



THREE MEN OF MOUSEHOLE 233 

which he gave the names of the Speed-well and the 
Pioneer; the other two were small dinghies, to be used 
as tenders or luggage boats. 

Captain Gardiner now looked about him for enthu- 
siasts like himself to share the perils and the possible 
glories of spreading the gospel over Terra del Fuego, 
in which not a cross had been planted nor the Word 
of God proclaimed. 

He secured the services of a surgeon, a missionary, 
and from Mousehole, near Penzance, drew three sturdy 
Cornish sailors, or fishermen — John Pearce, John 
Badcock, and John Davy Bryant — who little knew 
what risks they ran. 

The party left England on September 27th, 1850, 
in the ship Ocean Queen, bound from Liverpool to 
California, taking with them their boats and six 
months' provisions. They were landed on the in- 
hospitable foreign shore on the 5th December. 

Pinkerton, in his Modern Geography, thus graphi- 
cally describes the scene of their projected labours : — 

" A broken series of wintry islands, called Terra del 
Fuego, from two or more volcanoes which vomit 
flames amidst the dreary wastes of ice. Terra del Fuego 
is divided by narrow straits into eleven islands of con- 
siderable size. In their zeal for Natural History, Sir 
Joseph Banks and Doctor Solander had nearly perished 
amid the snows of this horrible land; but they found 
a considerable variety of plants. The natives are of 
a middle stature, with broad flat faces, high cheeks, 
and flat noses, and they are clothed in the skins of 
seals. The villages consist of miserable huts in the 
form of a sugar loaf, and the only food seems to be 
shell-fish." 

The lack of common prudence, of common sense, 
exhibited by Captain Gardiner is astounding. Here 



234 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

was he, with a party whom he had beguiled to attend 
him, dropped in this barren country wrapped in snow 
and fog, without an interpreter, and consequently with- 
out the means of communication with the inhabitants 
should they come across them. From the moment that 
the sails of the Ocean Queen disappeared behind the 
rocks on her way to double Cape Horn, the eye of no 
civilized man ever saw these brave sailors and mis- 
sionaries alive. All that is known of them has been 
gathered from the papers subsequently found. 

Seven men in all, with four open boats, were left on 
the most inhospitable coast that could be found, where 
there is little food to be got, where vegetation is scarce. 
Their resolution was heroic, but the whole enterprise 
was madness. 

They soon found that the Pioneer leaked. In several 
short voyages from island to island and from shore to 
shore they encountered numberless mishaps. The 
natives were by no means friendly, and as they ap- 
proached their villages, brandished their weapons and 
drove them away. At other times the Fuegians simu- 
lated friendship, so as to get at the stores and plunder 
them. During a storm both of the dinghies were lost 
with all their contents, on which they relied for support 
for six months. Next they found that they had no 
gunpowder ; it had been left inadvertently in the Ocean 
Queen, so that they had no means of shooting birds or 
other animals. Then their anchors and spare timber 
were carried away. As far as we can judge, they seem 
to have been curiously helpless persons. With clubs 
they might have killed the sea-elephants, whose flesh 
would have sustained them and their skins clothed 
them. 

Thus wore away the month of January, 1851, and 
not the first step had been taken towards acquiring the 



THREE MEN OF MOUSEHOLE 235 

confidence of the natives. All the time had been spent 
in a struggle for the maintenance of their own lives. 
On February ist the Pioneer -was shattered in a storm, 
and now they had only the Speedwell to voyage in, 
a vessel whose name mocked their misery. 

They all saw now, even the enthusiast Gardiner, that 
they had embarked on an impossible task, and without 
further thought of spreading a knowledge of Chris- 
tianity among the dirty, treacherous, flat-nosed and 
stupid natives, their only consideration was how they 
might get away. 

Arrangements had been made before starting for 
sending out to them fresh supplies, but by various un- 
fortunate mischances this had not been done. They 
turned their eyes vainly eastward ; not a sail was seen 
to raise their hopes. 

Some of the men became ill with scurvy, and the 
boats were used as hospitals, the men that were sound 
retiring to caverns. A few fish and fowl were caught, 
and eggs were procured. So March and April dragged 
along ; and then the Antarctic winter began, adding 
snow and ice to their other troubles. What herbs to 
gather, how the natives protected themselves against 
scurvy, does not seem to have occurred to these un- 
fortunates. They sat and shivered and lamented their 
fate and lost all hope. From the middle of May they 
were all put on short allowance, owing to the rapid dis- 
appearance of the supply of food they had brought 
ashore. At the end of June, Badcock, one of the 
Mousehole men, died, worn out with scurvy. There 
is an entry in Gardiner's diary, about the end of June, 
enumerating the provisions still left, and among them 
were "six mice," concerning which he wrote : "The 
mention of this last item in our list of provisions may 
startle some of our friends should it ever reach their 



236 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

ears ; but circumstanced as we are, we partake of them 
with a relish ; they are very tender, and taste like 
rabbit." A solitary penguin, a dead fox, a half- 
devoured fish thrown up on the shore — all were wel- 
comed by the half-starved men. When August came, 
the strength of the entire party was well-nigh at an end. 
A few garden-seeds were made into a soup, and mussel- 
broth was served out to the invalids. Captain Gardiner 
himself lived on mussels for a fortnight, and then, as 
this disagreed with him, was compelled to give up the 
diet. He would have lain down and died of starvation 
had he not found a vegetable that he could eat, and on 
this he rallied for a while. 

On the 23rd, Erwin, a boatman, died, exhausted by 
hunger and disease. On the 26th, Bryant, the second 
Mousehole man, expired. Pearce, the remaining boat- 
man, went nearly mad at the loss of his companions 
and the hopelessness of the outlook. Mr. Maidment, 
the missionary, had just strength sufficient to dig a 
grave in which to bury the two poor fellows. He then 
made a pair of crutches with two sticks, on which 
Captain Gardiner might lean when walking. He lived 
in the cavern, and tried to hobble down to those who 
were in the Speed-well, but his strength was not equal to 
the task, and he had to retire to his cave. 

Maidment was the next to succumb, on September 
2nd. Pearce, and Williams the surgeon, were in the 
Speedwell, and it was as much as they could do to 
obtain a few shell-fish for themselves ; but they soon 
lay down and died. When Gardiner also yielded up 
the ghost is not known, but he had strength to make 
an entry in his diary on the 6th ; there is none on 
the 7th. 

On the 2ist January, 1852, H.M.S. Dido arrived at 
Terra del Fuego and found the remains of this un- 



THREE MEN OF MOUSEHOLE 237 

happy party of religious enthusiasts. The first thing 
seen was a direction scrawled on a rock ; then a boat 
lying on the beach of a small river ; then the unburied 
bodies of Captain Gardiner and the missionary Maid- 
ment ; then a packet of papers and books ; then the 
scattered remains of another boat, with part of her gear 
and various articles of clothing ; then two more 
corpses ; and lastly the graves of the rest of the 
party. 

"Their remains," wrote Captain Morshead, of the 
Dido, "were collected together and buried close to 
the spot, and the funeral service read by Lieutenant 
Underwood. A short inscription was placed on the 
rock near his own text ; the colours of the boats and 
ships were struck half-mast, and three volleys of 
musketry were the only tribute of respect I could 
pay to the lofty-minded man and his devoted 
companions." 



DOLLY PENTREATH 

MUCH has been written about Dolly 
Pentreath, but little is known of her 
uneventful life. That little may be 
summed up in few words. 

Her maiden name was Jeffery, and when she was 
a child her parents and all about her spoke the Cornish 
language. Drew, in his History of Cornwall, quoting 
Daines Barrington, says : " She does indeed talk 
Cornish as readily as others do English, being bred 
up from a child to know no other language ; nor could 
she (if we may believe her) talk a word of English 
before she was past twenty years of age." 

In the year 1768 the Hon. Daines Barrington, 
brother of Captain, afterwards Admiral, Barrington, 
went into Cornwall to ascertain whether the Cornish 
language had entirely ceased to be spoken, or not, and 
in a letter written to John Lloyd, f.s.a., a few years 
after, viz. on March 31, 1773, he gives the following 
as the result of his journey : — 

"I set out from Penzance, with the landlord of the 
principal inn for my guide, towards Sennen, or the 
most western point ; and when I approached the village 
I said that there must probably be some remains of the 
language in those parts if anywhere, as the village was 
in the road to no place whatever, and the only ale- 
house announced itself to be the last in England. 

" My guide, however, told me that I should be 
disappointed, but that if I would ride about ten miles 

238 



DOLLY PENTREATH 239 

about on my return to Penzance he would conduct me 
to a village called Mousehole, on the western side of 
Mount's Bay, where there was an old woman, called 
Dolly Pentreath, who could speak Cornish fluently. 
While we were travelling together towards Mousehole 
I inquired how he knew that this woman spoke Cornish ; 
when he informed me that he frequently went from 
Penzance to Mousehole to buy fish, which were sold 
by her ; and that when he did not offer her a price 
that was satisfactory, she grumbled to some other 
old women in an unknown tongue, which he concluded, 
therefore, to be Cornish. 

"When we reached Mousehole I desired to be 
introduced as a person who had laid a wager that there 
was not one who could converse in Cornish ; upon 
which Dolly Pentreath spoke in an angry tone for two 
or three minutes, and in a language which sounded 
very like Welsh. The hut in which she lived was in a 
very narrow lane, opposite to two rather better houses, 
at the doors of which two other women stood, who 
were advanced in years, and who I observed were 
laughing at what Dolly said to me. 

" Upon this I asked them whether she had not been 
abusing me ; to which they answered, ' Very heartily,' 
and because I had supposed she could not speak 
Cornish. 

' ' I then said that they must be able to talk the 
language ; to which they answered that they could not 
speak it readily, but that they understood it, being 
only ten or twelve years younger than Dolly Pentreath. 

" I continued nine or ten days in Cornwall after this, 
but found that my friends whom I had left to the east- 
ward continued as incredulous almost as they were 
before about these last remains of the Cornish lan- 
guage, because, among other reasons. Dr. Borlase had 



240 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

supposed, in his Natural History of the County, that it 
had entirely ceased to be spoken. It was also urged 
that, as he lived within four or five miles of the old 
woman at Mousehole, he consequently must have heard 
of so singular a thing as her continuing to use the 
vernacular tongue. 

' ' I had scarcely said or thought anything more 
about this matter till last summer (1772), having men- 
tioned it to some Cornish people, I found that they 
could not credit that any person had existed within 
these few years who could speak their native language; 
and therefore, though I imagined there was but a 
small chance of Dolly Pentreath continuing to live, 
yet I wrote to the President, then in Devonshire, to 
desire that he would make some inquiry with regard 
to her ; and he was so obliging as to procure me 
information from a gentleman whose house was within 
three miles of Mousehole, a considerable part of whose 
letter I subjoin. 

" ' Dolly Pentreath is short of stature, and bends 
very much with old age, being in her eighty-seventh 
year, so lusty, however, as to walk hither to Castle 
Horneck, about three miles, in bad weather, in the 
morning and back again. She is Somewhat deaf, but 
her intellect seemingly not impaired ; has a memory so 
good, that she remembers perfectly well, that about 
four or five years ago at Mousehole, where she lives, 
she was sent for by a gentleman, who, being a stranger, 
had a curiosity to hear the Cornish language, which 
she was famed for retaining and speaking fluently, 
and that the innkeeper where the gentleman came from 
attended him. 

("This gentleman," says Daines Barrington, "was 
myself; however, I did not presume to send for her, 
but waited upon her.") 



DOLLY PENTREATH 241 

"'She does, indeed, talk Cornish as readily as 
others do English, being bred up from a child to know 
no other language ; nor could she (if we may believe 
her) talk a word of English before she was past twenty 
years of age, as, her father being a fisherman, she was 
sent with fish to Penzance at twelve years old, and sold 
them in the Cornish language, which the inhabitants 
in general, even the gentry, did then well understand. 
She is positive, however, that there is neither in 
Mousehole, nor in any other part of the county, any 
other person who knows anything of it, or, at least, 
can converse in it. She is poor, and maintained partly 
by the parish, and partly by fortune-telling and 
gabbling Cornish.' 

"I have thus," continued Mr. Barrington, "thought 
it right to lay before the Society (the Society of 
Antiquaries) this account of the last sparks of the 
Cornish tongue, and cannot but think that a linguist 
who understands Welsh might still pick up a more 
complete vocabulary of the Cornish than we are yet 
possessed of, especially as the two neighbours of this 
old woman . (Dolly Pentreath), whom I had occasion 
to mention, are not now above seventy-seven or 
seventy-eight years of age, and were healthy when 
I saw them ; so that the whole does not depend on 
the life of this Cornish sybil, as she is willing to 
insinuate." 

It is matter of profound regret that no Welshman 
did visit Dolly, who lived for four years after Mr. 
Barrington's letter, which was written in 1773, for she 
died December 26th, 1777. 

Drew says : " She was buried in the churchyard of 
the parish of Paul, in which parish, Mousehole, the 
place of her residence, is situated. Her epitaph is both 
in Cornish and English." 



242 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Coth Doll Pentreath cans ha Deau ; 
Marow ha kledyz ed Paul pl6a : — 
Na ed an Egloz, gan pobel br4s, 
Bes ed Egloz-hay coth Dolly es. 

Old Doll Pentreath, one hundred aged and two, 
Deceased, and buried in Paul parish too : — 
Not in the Church, with people great and high, 
But in the Churchyard doth old Dolly lie I 

This epitaph, written by Mr. Tomson, of Truro, was never 
inscribed on her tombstone, for no tombstone was set 
up to her memory at the time of her death. The stone 
now erected, and standing in the churchyard wall and 
not near her grave, was set up by Prince Louis Lucien 
Bonaparte in i860, and contains two errors. It runs : 
"Here Heth interred Dorothy Pentreath, who died in 
1778." In the first place she does not lie where is 
the stone, and in the second place she died 1777, on 
December 26th, and was buried on the following day. 

In 1776 Mr. Harrington presented a letter to the 
Royal Society of Antiquaries written in Cornish and 
in English, by William Bodener, a fisherman of Mouse- 
hole. This man asserted that at that date there were 
still four or five persons in Mousehole who could talk 
Cornish. 

In 1777, the year of Dolly's death, Mr. Barrington 
found another Cornishman named John Nancarrow, of 
Marazion, aged forty-five years, able to speak Cornish. 
John Nancarrow said that "in his youth he had learned 
the language from the country people, and could thus 
hold a conversation in it ; and that another, a native of 
Truro, was at that time also acquainted with the 
Cornish language, and like himself was able to con- 
verse in it." 

This last is supposed to be the Mr. Tomson who 
wrote the epitaph for Dolly Pentreath which was never 
set up. 



DOLLY PENTREATH 243 

In Hitchens' and Drew's History of Cornwall, it is 
said : "The Cornish language was current in a part of 
the South Hams in the time of Edward I (1272-1307). 
Long after this it was common on the banks of the 
Tamar, and in Cornwall it was universally spoken. 

" But it was not till towards the conclusion of the 
reign of Henry VIII (1509-47) that the English 
language had found its way into any of the Cornish 
churches. Before this time the Cornish language was 
the established vehicle of communication. 

" Dr. Moreman, a native of Southill, but vicar of 
Menheniot, was the first who taught the inhabitants 
of this parish the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the 
Ten Commandments in the English tongue ; and this 
was not done till just about the time that Henry VIII 
closed his reign. From this fact one inference is 
obvious, which is, that if the inhabitants of Menheniot 
knew nothing more of the English than what was thus 
learnt from the vicar of the parish, the Cornish must 
have prevailed among them at that time . . . and as 
the English language in its progress travelled from 
east to west, we may reasonably conclude that about 
this time it had not penetrated far into the county, as 
Menheniot lies towards its eastern quarter. 

" From the time the liturgy was established in the 
Cornish churches in the English language, the Cornish 
tongue rapidly declined. 

"Hence Mr. Carew, who published his Survey of 
Cornwall in 1602, notices the almost total extirpation 
of the language in his days. He says, ' The principal 
love and knowledge of this language liveth in Dr. 
Kennall the civilian, and with him lyeth buried ; for 
the English speech doth still encroach upon it and 
hath driven the same into the uttermost skirts of the 
shire. Most of the inhabitants can speak no word of 



244 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Cornish ; but few are ignorant of the English ; and yet 
some so affect their airs, as to a stranger they will not 
speak it ; for if meeting them by chance you inquire 
the way, or any such matter, your answer shall be, 
^^ Meea naurdua ccmzasourzneck ? " (I can speak no 
Saxonage).' 

"Carew's Survey was soon followed by that of 
Norden, by whom we are informed that the Cornish 
language was chiefly confined to the western hundreds 
of the county, particularly to Penwith and Kirrier, and 
yet (which is to be marveyled) though the husband 
and wife, parents and children, masters and servants, 
etc., naturally communicate in their native language, 
yet there is none of them in a manner but is able to 
converse with a stranger in the English tongue, unless 
it be some obscure people who seldom confer with the 
better sort. But it seemeth, hpwever, that in a few 
years the Cornish will be by little and little abandoned." 

The Cornish was, however, so well spoken in the 
parish of Feock by the old inhabitants till about the 
year 1640, "that Mr. William Jackman, the then vicar, 
and chaplain also of Pendennis Castle, at the siege 
thereof by the Parliament army, was forced for divers 
years to administer the sacrament to the communicants 
in the Cornish tongue, because the aged people did not 
well understand the English, as he himself often told 
me," says Hals. 

So late as 1650 the Cornish language was currently 
spoken in the parishes of Paul and S. Just ; the fisher- 
women and market-women in the former, and the 
tinner in the latter, for the most part conversing in 
their old vernacular tongue ; and Mr. Scawen says that 
in 1678 the Rev, F. Robinson, rector of Landewed- 
nack, "preached a sermon to his parishioners in the 
Cornish language only." 



DOLLY PENTREATH 245 

Had the Bible been translated, had even the English 
Prayer-book been rendered into Cornish, the language 
would have lived on. It is due to a large extent to 
this^ — the translation into Welsh— that in Wales their 
ancient language has maintained itself. 

The editors of the Bibliotheca Comubiensis state that 
Dorothy Jeffery, daughter of Nicolas Pentreath, was 
baptized at Paul 17th May, 1714; and they conclude 
that she was the Dolly Pentreath who died in 1777, and 
that her age accordingly was sixty-three and not one 
hundred and two. 

But this is a mistake. Dolly was a Jeffery by birth 
and married a Pentreath. 

A story is told of Dolly in Mr. J. Henry Harris's 
Cornish Saints and Sinners, "as current in Mousehole, 
but whether true or well conceived it is not possible for 
me to say." 

It is to this effect : that on one occasion a deserter 
from a man-of-war fled to her house for refuge, and as 
there was a cavity in her chimney large enough to 
contain a man, she thrust him into it, and threw a 
bundle of dry furze on the fire, and filled the crock 
with water. Into the middle of the kitchen she drew 
a "keeve," which she used for washing, and when the 
naval officer and his men in pursuit burst into her 
house, Dolly was sitting on a stool, her legs bare and 
her feet ready to be immersed in the keeve. She 
screamed out on their entry that she was about to wash 
her feet, and only waiting for the water to get hot 
enough. The officer persisted in searching, and she gave 
tongue in strong and forcible Cornish. She rushed to 
the door and screamed to the good people of Mouse- 
hole, that the lieutenant and his men had invaded her 
house without leave, and were impudent and audacious 
enough to ransack every other cottage in the place. 



246 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

The officer and his men withdrew without having seen 
and secured their man ; and that night a fishing lugger 
stole out of Mousehole with the deserter on board and 
made for Guernsey, which in those days was a sort of 
dumping-ground for all kinds of rascals who were 
"wanted " at home. 



ROBERT JEFFERY OF POLPERRO 

MRS. BRAY, in her novel Trelawny of 
Trelawne, written in 1834, t^^s describes 
Polperro as it was at that time. It has 
lost much but not all of its picturesque- 
ness. Many of the old fishermen's cottages have been 
pulled down, and their places taken by ugly modern 
houses. 

"Looe," says she, "beautiful as it is, is not to be 
compared to Polperro, two miles distant from Tre- 
lawne. The descent to it is so steep, that I, who was 
not accustomed to the path, could only get down by 
clinging to Mr. Bray's arm for support; it was slippery, 
and so rocky that in some places there were steps cut 
in the road for the convenience of the passenger. The 
view of the little port, the old town in the bottom (if 
town it can be called), the cliffs, and the spiked rocks 
that start up in the wildest and most abrupt manner, 
breaking the direct sweep of the waves towards the 
harbour, altogether produced such a combination of 
magnificent coast scenery as may truly be called sub- 
lime." 

Long before this, in the reign of Henry VIII, 
Leland, who visited it, wrote: "By est, the haven of 
Fowey upon a iiii miles of — ys a smawle creke cawled 
Paul Pier, and a symple and poore village upon the est 
side of the same, of fisharmen, and the boetes ther 
fishing by [be] saved by a Peere or key." 

Robert Jeffery was the son of John Jeffery, barge- 

247 



248 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

man at Fowey, afterwards a publican at Polperro. 
John JeflFery died in 1802, and his widow remarried 
Benjamin Coad, blacksmith. 

Robert was baptized at Fowey, 22nd January, 1790. 
He was impressed for the Royal Navy, and was placed 
on board H.M. brig Recruit, under Gaptatn the Hon. 
Warwick Lake, in 1807. 

Warwick Lake was the third son of Gerard, first 
Viscount Lake, so created in 1807, and he eventually 
succeeded as third Viscount in 1836. His career in 
the Navy had not been particularly creditable. In 
November, 1803, he had been lieutenant on board the 
frigate Blanche^ Captain Zachariah Mudge, lying at 
anchor off the entrance of Mancenille Bay, Isle of 
S. Domingo. In the harbour lay the French, cutter 
Albion, armed with two 4-pounders, six swivels, and 
twenty muskets, and manned by forty-three officers 
and men, lying under the guns of the fort of Monte 
Christo. A night attack was determined upon, and 
Lieutenant Edward Nicolls, of the Marines, volun- 
teered, with one boat, to attempt cutting out the, vessel, 
His offer was accepted; and on the evening of the 
4th November, the red cutter, with thirteen men, in- 
cluding himself, pushed off from the frigate. Shortly 
after Captain Mudge despatched the barge, with 
twenty-two men, under the Hon. Warwick Lake, to 
follow the red cutter and supersede Nicolls in the 
command. As the barge approached the cutter, 
Nicolls hailed her and demanded a united attack. 
But Lake feared that the hazards were too great, and 
instead of following he moved away to the northrwest 
side of the bay, leaving Lieutenant Nicolls to attack 
unassisted. The red cutter, thus deserted, proceeded 
dauntlessly on her way, and as soon as she arrived 
within pistol-shot was hailed. Replying with three 



ROBERT JEFFERY OF POLPERRO 249 

hearty cheers the boat proceeded, and received in 
quick succession two volleys of musketry. The first 
passed over the heads of the British ; but the second 
severely wounded the coxswain, the man at the bow- 
oar, and a marine. Before the French cutter could fire 
a third time, Nicolls, at the head of his little party, 
sprang on board of her. The French captain fired at 
the lieutenant, and the ball passed round his body in 
the flesh, and lodged in his right arm. At the same 
moment the French captain was shot. After this, little 
resistance was offered. The French officers and crew 
were driven below, with the loss, beside the captain, of 
five men wounded. 

So far the battery had not fired, and Nicolls ordered 
that the Albion should be got under sail, and the cable 
was cut. 

At this moment up came the barge, commanded by 
Lieutenant the Hon. Warwick Lake. He took com- 
mand of the prize captured by Nicolls, and with two 
boats towing her soon ran her out of gunshot of the 
battery, which had now at last opened fire, and joined 
the frigate in the ofiing. 

Captain Mudge, in his report to the Admiralty, wrote : 
"Having gained intelligence that there was a large 
coppered cutter full of bullocks for the Cape laying 
close under the guns of Monte Christi (four 24-pounders 
9ind three field-pieces), notwithstanding her situation, I 
was, convinced we, could bring her off; and at two this 
morning she was masterly and gallantly attacked by 
Lieutenant Lake in the cutter y and Lieutenant Nicolls, of 
the Marines, in the barge, who cut her out. She is 
ninety-two tons burden, etc. This affair lost me two 
men killed, and two wounded." 

As will be seen, this was a gross misstatement of 
facts. The Hon. Warwick Lake was in the barge, and 



2SO CORNISH CHARACTERS 

did nothing till the Albion had been captured by Lieu- 
tenant Nicolls in the cutter. Nor was this all. Among 
the two wounded, Lieutenant Nicolls, the hero of the 
action, was not named. His wound was not a scratch, 
but a hole on each side of his body and a ball in his 
arm, that sent him bleeding to the cock-pit of the 
Blanche. 

The Patriotic Fund presented to Lieutenant Lake 
"for his gallantry" a sword valued at £50, and he did 
not blush to receive it, whereas Lieutenant Nicolls 
received one valued at £2P' Not till much later was it 
discovered who had been the hero of the action, and 
who the sneak who flourished the plumes due to 
another. 

In 1807 Lake was captain of the Recruit, an i8-gun 
brig-sloop. 

Jeffery, at the age of eighteen, had entered in 1807 on 
board the Lord Nelson privateer of Plymouth ; but 
eight days after, when the privateer had put into Fal- 
mouth, was pressed by an officer of the Recruit, which 
soon after sailed for the West Indies. Jeffery was a 
skulking, ill-conditioned fellow, who was caught steal- 
ing a bottle of rum and was punished for it, and by his 
own acknowledgment, on December loth, went to the 
spruce-beer cask and drew off about two quarts. A 
shipmate saw and informed against Jeffery, and Cap- 
tain Lake ordered the sergeant of marines to "put him 
in the black list," and he had the word Thief painted on 
a bit of canvas and affixed to his back. 

Edward Spencer, master, told his captain that the 
fellow was no good on board, and that the best thing 
that could be done with him was to put him on shore. 

On the 13th December the Recruit was passing the 
island of Sombrero, that lies between the islet of 
Anyada in the Puerta Virgin Islands and that of 



ROBERT JEFFERY OF POLPERRO 251 

Anguella in the Lesser Antilles group. It was towards 
evening between five and six of the afternoon. 
Captain Lake then ordered Jeffery to be brought on 
deck, and saying that he would not keep such a worth- 
less scoundrel on the ship, gave orders to Lieutenant 
Mould to have out the boat and convey Jeffery on 
shore. Neither the captain nor any of the crew knew 
that the island was desert and waterless. They be- 
lieved that it was inhabited by a few fishermen, and in 
the evening light mistook some rocks on shore for 
houses. Accordingly, a little before 6 p.m., Jeffery 
was placed in a boat along with the second lieutenant 
of the brig, Richard Gotten Mould, a midshipman, 
and four sailors, and landed on Sombrero, without 
shoes to his feet, or any other clothes than those on his 
back, and without even a biscuit for food. 

Lieutenant Mould, seeing that the lad's feet were cut 
and bleeding by stepping on the sharp-pointed rocks, 
begged a pair of shoes for him from one of the sea- 
men, and gave him his knife and a couple of handker- 
chiefs, to be made use of as signals, and advised him 
to keep a sharp look-out for passing vessels. Then he 
pulled back to the Recruit. 

Captain Lake was possibly suffering from what would 
now be termed a "swollen head," His father, a gallant 
officer, but of no great descent, for his services in the 
Maharatta war had been created Baron Lake of Delhi 
and of Aston Clinton, Bucks, in 1804, and had received 
thanks for his services by both Houses of Parliament. 
His elder brother had married the sister of Charles, 
Earl of Whitworth, and his father had been granted 
an augmentation of arms, a fish naiant in fesse, to 
represent the fish of the Great Mogul, pierced with 
shafts. 

Lake was a hot-headed man, and he had just dined. 



252 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

That he intended to commit an act of barbarity is far 
from the truth. Jeffery was a nuisance of which he 
desired to free the ship, and the opportunity offered, 
and he took advantage of it without stopping to in- 
quire what was the nature of the island on which he 
left the young man. 

On reaching the Leeward Islands, where Sir Alex- 
ander Cochrane was in command of the squadron, that 
officer heard of what Lake had done, promptly repri- 
manded him, and ordered him to return to Sombrero 
and fetch off Jeffery. 

On February nth, rgoS, the Recruit anchored off 
the iisland, and her officers landed and searched it over, 
but neither Jeffery nor his body could be found. A 
pair of trousers and a tomahawk handle were the only 
vestiges of humanity discoverable. The island, how- 
ever, abounded in turtle and wild birds and their eggs, 
but the water was brackish. 

For eight days, in fact, Jeffery had wandered over 
the hump of rock and sand that constituted the islet of 
Sombrero, and lived on limpets and eggs, and drunk 
the water collected in fissures of the rock. He does 
not seem to have been given flint and steel, and the 
means of making a fire, so that he could not feast on 
turtle and puffins ; but, indeed, there were no trees, 
consequently hardly any fuel available for cooking a 
dinner. 

He saw several vessels pass, and indeed Sombrero was 
in the track of merchant vessels, but he failed to make 
them observe his signals. At length, on the morning 
of the ninth day, the schooner Adams, of Marblehead, 
Massachusetts, John Dennis master, came to the 
island and took the fellow off, and landed him at 
Marblehead, where he worked at a forge. Little 
conscious that he was like to be made political capital 



ROBERT JEFFERY OF POLPERRO 253 

of and to become of consequence, he did not even 
trouble to write home to Polperro to announce his 
safety and his whereabouts. 

Sir A. Cochrane was satisfied that the man could 
not have died on Sombrero, as his body was not dis- 
covered, nor was he likely to die on an island abound- 
ing in turtles and eggs ; he concluded that he had 
been carried away by one of the many ships that 
passed. He convinced himself that Captain Lake had 
been guilty of an illegal act, but had not desired to do 
one that was cruel, and he hoped that the matter would 
be forgotten after he had administered a reprimand. 

But the story got about. It reached England. A 
busybody, Charles M. Thomas, who had been purser 
on board H.M. sloop Demarara, but had been im- 
prisoned on suspicion that he had defrauded the 
Government, wrote home to Mr. C. Bathurst, brother of 
the M.P. for Bristol, to this effect : "I deem it a duty I 
owe to humanity, to inform you that Captain Lake, 
when commander of the Recruit, set a man belonging 
to that vessel on shore at Sombrero, an uninhabited 
island in the Atlantic Archipelago, where he died 
through hunger, or otherwise, for more was never 
heard of him. This was known to Sir A. Cochrane, 
who suffered this titled murderer to escape, and he is 
now in command of the Ulysses." The letter was dated 
March 24th, 1809, more than a year after Jeffery had 
been left on Sombrero. Its purport was obvious 
enough. Thomas wanted to be revenged on Cochrane 
for looking into the matter of his alleged frauds. 

The fat was now in the fire. Sir Francis Burdett 
took the matter up, the Radicals throughout the 
country made immense capital out of the starving to 
death of a poor seaman by a member of a noble family. 
The case was kept perseveringly before the public. 



254 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

so that the Government was constrained to issue orders 
for a strict inquiry to be made as to whether Jeffery 
was still alive or dead. 

Presently an account was received, purporting to be 
by Jeffery, giving information relative to his rescue 
and his condition in America ; but as to this was 
appended a cross for his signature, whereas Jeffery was 
known to have been able to write, the public were led 
to suspect that this was a fabrication contrived by 
Lake's relatives and friends. 

To settle the matter finally, a ship was despatched to 
bring Jeffery home, and he arrived at Portsmouth in 
October, 1810, three years after his adventure in 
Sombrero, and to find himself the hero of a party. 
On October 22nd he attended at the Admiralty, where 
he received his discharge, and had the " R " taken off his 
name, by which he became entitled to all arrears of 
pay. The family of Captain Lake made him liberal 
compensation for the very slight hardships he had 
undergone, but which in Jeffery's own account and 
in that of his partisans were magnified enormously. 

On the 5th and 6th of February, 1810, a court-martial 
assembled on board the Gladiator at Portsmouth to try 
Captain Lake for having abandoned a seaman on a 
desert and uninhabited island. Captain Lake com- 
plained that the witnesses whom he might have 
summoned to speak for him were away in various 
ships in different parts of the world. He produced 
a letter signed by all the officers of the Ulysses, 
the vessel he then commanded, protesting that he was 
humane and incapable of doing an act of wanton 
cruelty. 

At this time it was not known whether Jeffery was 
alive or dead. Captain Lake made a manly defence. 
"You will be pleased to recollect the evidence of 



ROBERT JEFFERY OF POLPERRO 255 

Mr. Spencer, the chief witness on the part of the prose- 
cution, on this point. He himself advised me to get 
the man out of the ship, and I declare that, by landing 
him, I thought he would be made more sensible of his 
want of conduct, and reform in future. I was per- 
suaded at the time that the island was inhabited ; in 
addition to which, I cannot but suppose it within your 
knowledge that the island is not out of reach of human 
assistance. I need not state that it is within the track 
of vessels on particular destinations, and which fre- 
quently pass within hail of the island. Jeffery found 
this to be the case, and there is no reason to doubt but 
that he was taken off the island ; for on a search being 
made for him there afterwards, one of the witnesses 
states expressly that not a trace of him was to be 
found, which I cannot conceive could have been the 
case if he had perished there, as is most unwarrantably 
asserted by Thomas. Gentlemen, I have no doubt he 
was conveyed to America in perfect safety. I myself 
verily believe he is in England at this moment, 
consigned (as it were) to the merchants who, perhaps, 
are keeping him concealed till the edict of the court- 
martial is known, and then he may be let loose upon 
me, to seek a compensation in damages by an action 
at law. The place of his concealment, however, has 
hitherto eluded the diligence of my agents." 

He appealed to the official report made to the 
Admiralty at the time by Sir A. Cochrane: "Be 
pleased to consider attentively the statement made by 
this official communication ; contrast it with the letter 
of Thomas, and then decide whether he was warranted 
in asserting that Robert Jeffery had perished through 
the inhumanity of one whom he has thought proper to 
describe as a 'titled murderer.' " 

The court-martial pronounced sentence: "Pursuant 



256 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

to an order from the Right Honourable Lords Com- 
missioners of the Admiralty, dated 3rd February in- 
stant, and directed to the President, setting forth that 
a letter had been addressed to their Lordships by 
the Right Hon. Charles Bathurst, enclosing a letter 
to him from Mr. Charles Morgan Thomas, dated 24th 
March, 1809 • • ^"^ having heard evidence produbed 
in support of the charge, and by the said Hon. 
Warwick Lake in his Defence . . . the Court is of 
opinion, That the charge has been proved against the 
said Hon. Warwick Lake, and doth adjudge him to 
be dismissed from His Majesty's service ; and the said 
Hon. Warwick Lake is hereby dismissed from His 
Majesty's service." 

In 1836 the Hon. Warwick Lake succeeded to 
the viscounty, and died in 1848, leaving behind him 
only two daughters, one unmarried, the other married 
to a Gloag. He was certainly very hardly treated, and 
as certainly an utterly worthless scoundrel was exalted 
into a hero. Jeffery returned to Polperro, where he 
was received with curiosity. There his antecedents were 
well known, and the value of his statements of terrible 
privation taken for what they were worth. Elsewhere 
he received an enthusiastic ovation. He hired himself 
out to be " run " by speculators at some of the minor 
theatres in London as "Jeffery the Sailor." After a 
few months he returned to Polperro with money enough 
in his pocket to enable him to purchase a small 
schooner for the coasting trade. 

The speculation did not answer his expectations. 
He fell into consumption, and died in 1820, leaving a 
wife and daughter in great penury. He was a mean, not 
to say a despicable creature, who was used for political 
purposes, and when he had served these was allowed to 
drop into his proper insignificance. 



ROBERT JEFFERY OF POLPERRO 257 

Authorities are a Life of Robert Jeff ery, published by 
B. Crosby, i8ii. An Account of R. Jeffery^ published 
by J. Pitt, 181 1. 

A Narrative of the Life of Robert Jeffery, with por- 
trait, 1810. 

Couch, J. : History of Polperro, edited by J. Q. 
Couch, 1870. 

James's Naval History, 1876, Vol. IV. 

Cobbett's Political Register, 1810, pp. 396-415, 459- 
464. 

Cobbett gives a report of the courts-martial. 

The story was also given in Chambers's Edinburgh 
Journal, 1848, pp. 147-51. 



ADMIRAL RICHARD DARTON 
THOMAS 

RICHARD DARTON THOMAS was born 
at Saltash on and June, 1777, son of 
Charles and Mary Thomas of that place. 
Drinking in the sea air, living in the midst 
of sailors and fisher-folk, he early took a fancy for the 
sea, and entered as an able-bodied seaman in the 
Royal Navy, in 1790, at the age of thirteen. His in- 
telligence, his pleasant manners, won the regard of his 
ofiBcers and he was raised to be midshipman in 
1792, and became master's mate in the ensuing year. 
He was in the Boyne under Sir John Jervis when 
Martinique was captured, and on the return of the 
Boyne to England, he was on board when that vessel 
was burnt at Spithead, ist May, 1795. The marines had 
been exercising and firing on the windward side, 
and it is supposed that some ignited paper of the 
cartridges flew through the quarter-galley into the 
admiral's cabin and communicated with the papers 
lying about on the table. It was at 11 a.m. that the 
fire broke out, the flames bursting through the poop 
before the fire was discovered, and it spread so rapidly 
that in less than half an hour this fine ship, in spite of 
every exertion of the officers and crew, was in a blaze 
fore and aft. As soon as the fire was discovered by 
the fleet, all the boats of the ships proceeded to the 
assistance of the Boyne, and the whole of the numerous 
crew, except eleven, were saved. 

258 



ADMIRAL RICHARD DARTON THOMAS 259 

The Bcyyne's guns being loaded went off as they 
became heated, discharging their shot among the 
shipping, whereby two men were killed and one wounded 
on board the Queen Charlotte. At about half-past one 
the Bqyne burnt from her cables and drifted to the 
east with a streamer of fire and smoke pouring from her ; 
she then grounded and continued to burn till six o'clock, 
when the fire reached her magazine and she blew up. 
This, as Captain Brenton wrote, "offered one of the most 
magnificent sights that can be conceived. The after- 
noon was perfectly calm and the sky clear ; the flames 
which darted from her in a perpendicular column of 
great height were terminated by an opaque white cloud 
like a round cap, while the air was filled with frag- 
ments of wreck in every direction, and the stump of the 
foremast was seen above the smoke descending to the 
water." 

We next find Thomas serving as lieutenant on 
board the Excellent, commanded by Captain Colling- 
wood, in the battle off Cape S. Vincent. It was in- 
tended that the Spanish fleet should join that of Brest, if 
this latter could get out, then if joined by the Dutch 
fleet, cover the transports that would convey an invad- 
ing army to England. But, as Touchstone wisely said, 
there is " much virtue in If." Sir John Jervis fell in 
with the Spanish fleet of twenty-seven sail of the line, on 
February 14th, 1797, as it had just issued from Cadiz. 
The English had only fifteen men-of-war ; but the 
greater part of the Spanish crew were about equally 
destitute of seamanship and spirit, and Nelson had said 
just before the breaking out of the war with Spain, that if 
her fleet were no better now than when it acted in 
alliance with us it would "soon be done for." By 
breaking the line, by battering and boarding, four 
Spanish ships of the line, including one of 112 guns, 



26o CORNISH CHARACTERS 

were taken ; and all the rest were driven into Cadiz and 
there blockaded. 

During the action the Excellent, on which Richard 
Thomas was lieutenant, was acknowledged by Nelson 
to have taken a very distinguished share, and to have 
rendered him the most effectual support in the hottest 
part of the battle, as will be seen by the following note 
which he addressed to her commander, and an extract 
from his own account of the transactions in which he 
himself was personally engaged. 

His note ran: "Dear Collingwood, — A friend in 
need is a friend indeed." 

Nelson's account of the assistance he received from 
the Excellent runs thus : — 

"At this time (about 2.15 p.m.) the Salvador del 
Mundo and San Esidero dropped astern, and were fired 
into, in a masterly style, by the Excellent, Captain 
Collingwood, who compelled the San Esidero to hoist 
English colours ; and I thought the large ship, the 
Salvador del Mundo, had also struck, but Captain 
Collingwood, disdaining the parade of taking posses- 
sion of a vanquished enemy, most gallantly pushed 
up, with every sail set, to save his old friend and mess- 
mate, who was to appearance in a critical state, the 
Blenheim being ahead, the Culloden crippled and astern. 
The Excellent ranged up within two feet of the San 
Nicholas, giving a most tremendous fire. The San 
Nicholas luffing up, the San Josef fell on board her ; 
and the Excellent passing on for the Santa Trinidada, 
the Captain resumed her station abreast of these, and 
close alongside." 

The Excellent, in fact, succeeded in getting close 
under the lee of the Santissima Trinidada, mounting 
130 guns, and engaged her for nearly an hour, assisted 
by the Orion, the Irresistible, and the Blenheim. The 



ADMIRAL RICHARD DARTON THOMAS 261 

huge vessel was compelled to haul down her colours, but 
the approach of thirteen other Spanish ships prevented 
her opponents from profiting by the advantage they 
had gained. The total loss on the Excellent amounted 
to eleven men killed and a dozen wounded. 

We need not follow Richard D. Thomas through his 
various changes of ships. He was mainly with Colling- 
wood, whose flag, as Rear-Admiral of the White, was 
flying on board the Barfleur, of ninety-eight guns. 
With him he remained on Channel service till the 
suspension of hostilities in 1802. He was given the 
rank of commander in 1803, when in the Chichester off 
Halifax. 

Returning from Nova Scotia, as a passenger on board 
the packet Lady Hobart, commanded by Captain Fel- 
lowes, he experienced shipwreck and terrible hardships, 
by the vessel running on an iceberg. 

After giving an account of his sailing from Halifax, 
June 22nd, 1803, and the capture of a French schooner 
laden with salt fish on the 26th, Captain Fellowes 
says : — 

^^ Tuesday, i%thjune. — Blowing hard from the west- 
ward, with a heavy sea and hazy weather, with intervals 
of thick fog. About i a.m. the ship, then going 
by the log at the rate of seven miles an hour, struck 
against an island of ice with such violence that several 
of the crew were pitched out of their hammocks. Being 
roused out of my sleep by the suddenness of the shock, 
I instantly ran upon the deck. The helm being put 
hard aport, the ship struck again about the chest-tree, 
then swung round on her keel, her stern-post being 
stove in, and her rudder carried away before we could 
succeed in an attempt to haul her off. At this time the 
island of ice appeared to hang quite over the ship, 
possessing a high peak, which must have been at least 



262 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

twice the height of our masthead ; and we suppose the 
length of the island to have been from a quarter to half 
a mile. 

"The sea was now breaking over the ice in a dread- 
ful manner, the water rushing in so fast as to fill the 
hold in a few minutes. Hove the guns overboard, cut 
away the anchors from the bows, got two sails under 
the ship's bottom, kept both pumps going, and baling 
with buckets at the main hatchway, in the hope of pre- 
venting her from sinking ; but in less than a quarter 
of an hour she settled down in her forechains in the 
water. 

"Our situation was now become most perilous. 
Aware of the danger of a moment's delay in hoisting 
out the boats, I consulted Captain Thomas of the 
Navy, and Mr. Bargus, my master, as to the propriety 
of making any further attempts to save the ship." 

Both declared that nothing effectual could be done to 
the vessel herself, and that, as every moment was 
precious, the boats should be got out and manned. Of 
these there were two, the cutter and the jolly-boat, and 
the ladies were placed in the former. 

Captain Fellowes expressed himself afterwards 
warmly of the ability and readiness with which Captain 
Thomas aided him. In bringing the ladies into the 
cutter, one of them. Miss Cottenham, was so terrified 
that she sprang from the wreck and pitched in the 
bottom of the boat with considerable violence. This 
accident might have been serious, but happily she was 
not injured. 

" The few provisions which had been saved from the 
men's berths were then put into the boats. By this time 
the main deck forward was under water, and nothing 
but the quarter-deck appeared ; I then ordered my men 
into the boats. 



ADMIRAL RICHARD DARTON THOMAS 263 

" The ship was sinking fast, and I called to the men 
to haul up and receive me, intending to drop into the 
cutter from the end of the trysail boom. 

" The sea was running so high at the time we hoisted 
out the boats that I scarcely flattered myself we should 
get them out safely ; and, indeed, nothing but the 
steady and orderly conduct of the crew could have 
enabled us to effect so difficult and hazardous an under- 
taking ; it is a justice to them to observe that not a 
man in the ship attempted to make use of the liquor, 
which every one had in his power. 

" We had scarce quitted the ship when she suddenly 
gave a heavy lurch to port, and then went down fore- 
most. I cannot attempt to describe my own feelings, 
or the sensations of my people, exposed as we were, in 
two small open boats, upon the great Atlantic Ocean, 
bereft of all assistance but that which our own exertions, 
under Providence, could afford us, we narrowly escaped 
being swallowed up in the vortex. 

" We rigged the foremast, and prepared to shape our 
course in the best manner that circumstances would 
admit of, the wind blowing from the precise point on 
which it was necessary to sail to reach the nearest land. 
An hour had scarcely elapsed from the time the ship 
struck till she foundered. The distribution of the crew 
had already been made in the following order, which 
we afterwards preserved : — 

"In the cutter were embarked three ladies and 
myself, Captain Richard Thomas ; the French com- 
mander of the schooner ; the master's mate, gunner, 
steward, carpenter, and eight seamen ; in all eighteen 
people, whose weight, together with the provisions, 
brought the boat's gunwale down to within six or seven 
inches of the water. From this confined space some 
idea may be formed of our crowded state ; but it is 



264 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

scarcely possible for the imagination to conceive the 
extent of our sufferings in consequence. 

" In the jolly-boat were embarked Mr, Samuel Bar- 
gus, master ; Lieut. -Colonel George Cocks, of the ist 
Regiment of Guards ;^ the boatswain, sailmaker, and 
seven seamen — in all eleven persons. 

"The only provisions, etc., we were enabled to save 
consisted of between forty and fifty pounds of biscuits, 
one vessel containing five gallons of water, a small jug 
of the same, and part of a small barrel of spruce beer ; 
one demi-john of rum, a few bottles of port wine, with 
two compasses, a quadrant, a spy-glass, a small tin 
mug, and a wine-glass. The deck lantern, which had 
a few spare candles in it, had been likewise thrown into 
the boat ; and the cook having had the precaution to 
secure the tinder-box and some matches that were kept 
in a bladder, we were afterwards enabled to steer by 
night. 

" The wind was now blowing strong from the west- 
ward, with a heavy sea, and the day just dawned. 
Estimating ourselves to be at the distance of 350 miles 
from S. John's, Newfoundland, with a prospect of a 
continuance of westerly winds, it became necessary to 
use the strictest economy. I represented to my com- 
panions in distress that our resolution, once made, 
ought on no account to be changed, and that we must 
begin by suffering privations, which I foresaw would 
be greater than I ventured to explain. To each person, 
therefore, were served out half a biscuit and a glass of 
wine, which was the only allowance for the ensuing 
twenty-four hours, all agreeing to leave the water 
untouched as long as possible." 

On the following day even this small allowance had 
to be contracted, in consequence of the biscuit being 

' Afterwards Sir George Cocks, k.c.b., who lost an arm at Waterloo. 



ADMIRAL RICHARD DARTON THOMAS 265 

much damaged by salt water during the night, " Soon 
after daylight we made sail, with the jolly-boat in tow, 
and stood close-hauled to the northward and westward, 
in the hope of reaching the coast of Newfoundland or of 
being picked up by some vessel. Passed two islands 
of ice. We now said prayers, and returned thanks to 
God for our deliverance." 

It was now the 4th July. The sufferings of those in 
the boats became excessive. The commander of the 
French schooner that had been captured went mad, and 
threw himself overboard. One of the French prisoners 
became so outrageous that it was found necessary to 
lash him to the bottom of the boat. 

At last, on this same day, the 4th July, after seven 
days of dreadful privation and incessant storm, they 
reached Conception Bay, in the Avalon Peninsula, 
Newfoundland. They had been reduced to a quarter of 
a biscuit per diem and a wine-glass of port wine and 
spirit, and then of water. 

Captain Fellowes says: "Overpowered by my own 
feelings, and impressed with the recollections of our 
sufferings and the sight of so many deplorable objects, I 
promised to offer up our solemn thanks to heaven for our 
miraculous deliverance. Every one cheerfully assented, 
and as soon as I opened the Prayer-book there was an 
universal silence. A spirit of devotion was singularly 
manifested on this occasion, and to the benefits of a 
religious sense in uncultivated minds must be ascribed 
that discipline, good order, and exertion, which even 
the sight of land could scarcely produce. 

" The wind having blown with great violence from 
off the coast, we did not reach the landing-place at 
Island Cove till four o'clock in the evening. All the 
women and children in the village, with two or three 
fishermen (the rest of the men being absent), came 



266 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

down to the beach, and appearing deeply affected at 
our wretched situation, assisted in carrying us up the 
craggy rocks, over which we were obliged to pass to 
get to their habitations. 

" The small village afforded neither medical aid nor 
fresh provisions, of which we stood so much in need, 
potatoes and salt fish being the only food of the 
inhabitants. I determined, therefore, to lose no 
time in proceeding to S. John's, having hired a small 
schooner for that purpose. On the 7th July we 
embarked in three divisions, placing the most infirm 
in the schooner, the master's mate being in charge of 
the cutter, and the boatswain of the jolly-boat ; but 
such was the exhausted state of nearly the whole party, 
that the day was considerably advanced before we 
could get under way. 

"Towards dusk it came on to blow hard in squalls 
off the land, when we lost sight of the cutter, and were 
obliged to come to anchor outside S. John's Harbour. 
We were under great apprehensions for the cutter's 
safety, as she had no grapnel, and lest she should be 
driven out to sea, but at daylight we perceived her and 
the schooner entering the harbour. 

"The ladies. Colonel Cooke, Captain Thomas, and 
myself, having left the schooner when she anchored, 
notwithstanding the badness as well as extreme dark- 
ness of the night, reached the shore about midnight. 
We wandered for some time about the streets, there 
being no house open at that late hour, but were at 
length admitted into a small tenement, where we 
passed the remainder of the night on chairs, there 
being but one miserable bed for the ladies. Early on 
the following day, our circumstances being made 
known, hundreds of people crowded down to the land- 
ing-place. Nothing could exceed their surprise on 



ADMIRAL RICHARD DARTON THOMAS 267 

seeing the boats that had carried twenty-nine persons 
such a distance over a boisterous sea, and when they 
beheld so many miserable objects, they could not con- 
ceal their emotions of pity and concern." 

It was found that the greatest circumspection had to 
be used in administering nourishment to those who 
came on shore. They were so much frost-bitten, more- 
over, as to require constant surgical assistance. Many 
had lost their toes, and they were constrained to remain 
at S. John's till they were in a fit state to be removed 
to Halifax. 

On the nth July Captain Fellowes, with Captain 
Thomas, and Lieutenant-Colonel Cooke, engaged the 
cabin of a small vessel, bound for Oporto, so as to 
return to England. 

When Captain Fellowes sent in his report on the 
loss of the Lady Hobart, he added a postscript : " I 
regret that, in the hurry of drawing up this narrative, 
I should have omitted to make particular mention of 
Captain Richard Thomas, r.n., from whose great pro- 
fessional skill and advice throughout our perilous 
voyage I derived the greatest assistance." 

In December, 1803, Captain Thomas commissioned 
the ^tna bomb, and soon after joined the fleet under 
Lord Nelson in the Mediterranean station, where 
he was very actively employed up to the battle of 
Trafalgar. After that he served as flag-captain under 
his old friend and patron, Lord Collingwood. 

InFebruary, 181 1, he was appointed to the Undaunted, 
employed in co-operation with the Spanish patriots off 
the coast of Catalonia. He was subsequently employed 
in command of a squadron stationed in the Gulf of 
Lyons, blockading Toulon. He was made Vice- 
Admiral of the Blue in 1848 ; Admiral of the Blue, 
1854 ; Admiral of the White, 1857, in which year he 



268 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

died, and was buried at Stonehouse, 27th August, 
He married, in 1827, Gratiana, daughter of Lieutenant- 
General Richard Williams, r.n. 

His brother, Charles Thomas, m.d., was for some 
time physician to the Devonport Dispensary. 



COMMANDER JOHN POLLARD 

LITTLE did John Pollard as signal midship- 
man of the Victory in the battle of Trafalgar 
suppose that he was running up a message 
^ to the fleet from Nelson that would never be 
forgotten so long as the English name lasts, and the 
Englishman maintains the character which has ever 
belonged to him. 

He was the son of John Pollard, and entered the 
Navy on November ist, 1797. Before the battle com- 
menced Nelson dictated the signal, "England confides 
that every man will do his duty." Pollard, to whom 
the order was given, remarked that the word confides 
was not in the code, and suggested in its stead the 
term expects, which Nelson at once accepted. Napoleon 
so much admired this last order of Nelson's that he 
caused it to be printed, with a difference, of France for 
England, and commanded that a copy should be given 
to each of the officers of the navy. "It is the best of 
lessons," he said. 

Pollard was born at Kingsand, Cornwall, on 27th 
July, 1787, so that he was aged but eighteen when 
he suggested the alteration in Nelson's famous mes- 
sage, and saw it signalled to the fleet. He died in the 
Royal Hospital, Greenwich, 22nd April, 1868, at the 
advanced age of eighty-one. He did nothing further 
that was remarkable, and is remembered only in con- 
nection with Nelson's signal, an instance of : — 

Unregarded age in corners thrown. 
269 



THE CASE OF BOSAVERN PENLEZ 

^ T the end of June, 1749, a sailor was robbed 
/^k in a low, disreputable house in the Strand. 

/ — % He stormed and demanded the restoration 
^ -^- of his purse, but could obtain no redress ; 
he was laughed at and ejected from the place. He at 
once returned to his vessel and narrated his wrongs, 
and so roused the resentment of his comrades that they 
promised to accompany him to the Strand and work 
retribution on the thieves. 

Accordingly on July ist a body of them marched down 
the Strand, and reaching the house broke in the door 
and " levell'd their rage against the house and goods of 
the caitif, whom they looked on as the author of the 
villainy exercised on their brother Tar. Accordingly 
they went to work as if they were breaking up a ship, 
and in a trice unrigg'd the house from top to bottom. 
The movables were thrown out of the windows or doors 
to their comrades in the street, where, a bonfire being 
made, they were burnt, but with so much decency and 
order, so little confusion, that notwithstanding the 
crowd gather'd together on this occasion, a child of five 
years old might have crossed the street in the thickest 
of them without the least danger. 

"The neighbours, too, though their houses were 
not absolutely free from danger of fire by the sparks 
flying from the bonfire, were so little alarm'd at this 
riot that they stood at their doors, and look'd out of 
their windows, with as little concern, and perhaps more 

370 



THE CASE OF BOSAVERN PENLEZ 271 

glee and mirth, than if they had been at a drqll in 
Bartholomew Fair, seeing the painted scene of the 
renoun'd Troy Town in flames." After the house had 
been completely gutted, and not before, the guards 
came from the Savoy, which, by the way, was not 
above a good stone's throw from the scene of action, 
whereupon the sailors withdrew, unarrested and un- 
pursued. If matters had remained here it would have 
been well, but unhappily this first performance whetted 
the appetites of the sailors for another, and they resolved 
on sacking another house a few doors from that they 
had gutted, which also did not bear a good character. 

Accordingly next evening, being Sunday, they re- 
turned, and proceeded to treat this second house in the 
same manner as the first "without so much as the least 
interruption, till they had full timely notice to get off 
before the guards arrived, who came, as before, too 
late, that one would have been tempted to imagine they 
came too late on purpose. 

"A regular bonfire then having been made as before, 
all the goods of the house were triumphantly convey'd 
into it ; and if the finding of bundles and effects of any 
of the actors would have aggravated their guilt, num- 
bers might have been seized with the goods upon them, 
between the house and the bonfire, where they were all 
carefully destroy'd, to avoid any slur or suspicion of pil- 
age for private use. This was carry'd to such an exact- 
ness that a little boy, who perhaps thought no great harm 
to save a gilt cage out of the fire for his bird at home, 
was discover'd carrying it off, when the leaders of the 
mob took it from him and threw it into the fire, and 
his age alone protected him from severe punishment. 
Nothing, in short, was imbezzled or diverted, except an 
old gown or petticoat, thrown at a hackney coachman's 
head as a reward for a dutiful Huzza, as he drove by. 



272 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

"As to the neighbours, who were at their doors and 
windows seeing the whole without the least concern or 
alarm, there was not probably one of those who, though 
as good and as loyal subjects as any his Majesty has, 
and as well affected to the peace and quiet of his 
government, imagin'd or dream'd there was any spirit 
of sedition or riotous designs in these proceedings 
beyond the open and expressed intention of destroying 
these obnoxious houses ; and tho' the coolest and sensi- 
blest doubtless thought the joke was going too far, and 
wished even that the Government had interposed 
sooner, and less faintly, yet they had not the least 
notion of any such extraordinary measure of guilt in 
their proceedings as would affect life or limb." 

The sailors had now gathered about them, some as 
lookers on, some as assistants, a large number of men 
and boys, and these now moved up the street in a body, 
with a bell ringing before them, to the house of one 
Peter Wood, a hairdresser, but in bad odour, as keep- 
ing a disorderly house, under the sign of the Star. 

Into this house the mob broke, although Peter Wood 
offered money if only they would spare him and its 
contents. But they were deaf to his entreaties, and his 
house was only saved by the arrival of the guards, who 
at once proceeded to arrest several persons. Among 
those they secured was Bosavern Penlez, or Penlees, 
son of a clergyman in Cornwall, who had been put 
apprentice to a wig-maker in town. 

With him were secured John Wilson, Benjamin 
Lander, and another, who shortly after died of gaol- 
fever in Newgate. All these four, not one of whom 
was a sailor, were locked up in prison, and kept there 
till the September Sessions, when they were indicted 
"for that they, together with divers other persons, to 
the number of forty and upwards, being feloniously 



THE CASE OF BOSAVERN PENLEZ 273 

and riotously assembled, to the disturbance of the 
public peace, did begin to demolish the house of Peter 
Wood against the form of the statute in that case 
made and provided, July the 3rd. 

Against Lander, Peter Wood swore that ' ' he was in 
the passage of his house, assisting to break the parti- 
tion ; that that was the first time of his seeing him ; 
that he broke the window of the bar with his stick ; that 
he (Lander) was taken upstairs." 

On a cross-examination he averred that he did not 
see Lander at the first coming up of the mob to his 
house ; but he asserted that he stuck fast to him when 
he saw him in the passage, which was half an hour 
before the arrival of the guards. 

Peter Wood's wife swore that Lander had knocked 
her down, and had beaten her almost to a jelly. 

Lander, in his defence, proved that between twelve 
and one o'clock that night he was going home to his 
lodgings, when he heard that there was a riot in the 
Strand ; and that meeting with a soldier who had been 
ordered with his detachment to disperse the mob in the 
Strand, he persuaded him to enter with him into a 
public-house and have a drink. The soldier consented, 
and then left, and Lander followed to see the fun, and 
found the mob retreating to Temple Bar, driven for-» 
ward by the guards. Thereupon, according to his own 
account, he went into Peter Wood's house to see what 
mischief had been done, when Wood laid hold of him, 
under the notion that he was a straggler left behind of 
those who had begun to wreck the house. Happily at 
that moment in came the soldier whom Lander had 
treated to a pint of beer. The evidence of this soldier 
was conclusive, and Lander was discharged, after 
having suffered imprisonment for over two months. 

It appears evident that Peter Wood's testimony was 



274 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

false ; not perhaps purposely so, but erroneous through 
his mistaking one man for another in the excitement of 
the partial destruction of his house. 

The evidence he gave against John Wilson was that 
the man knocked him down, and that Wilson, stooping 
over him, asked, "You dog, are you not dead yet?" 
and that he caught hold of Wilson's hand and kissed it 
and prayed for mercy. Moreover, Mrs. Wood testified 
that she also had entreated him to stay his hand, and 
had "held him by the face, and stroked him." The 
waiting-man clinched the testimony by swearing that 
he also had seen Wilson in the parlour as the settee- 
bed was being thrown out of the window, and that he 
(Wilson) helped to throw the bed out. John Wilson 
earnestly protested that a mistake had been made, and 
that he was not the man who had done that of which he 
was accused. He brought numerous testimonies to his 
good character ; but these availed not, and he was con- 
demned to death. 

Bosavern Penlez admitted that he had been in Peter 
Wood's house ; he had been rather tipsy at the time, 
and had been drawn in to follow the mob, but he had 
done no mischief, neither had he joined the rabble with 
any evil intent. This availed not ; he also was con- 
demned to death. At the last moment Wilson was 
reprieved and finally pardoned ; but poor Bosavern was 
hanged at Tyburn on the i8th October, 1749, at the 
age of twenty-three. 

Much feeling had been roused in favour of Penlez, 
and a petition had been got up, numerously signed, 
requesting that he might be pardoned ; but it availed 
nothing. Then a pamphlet appeared, entitled, The 
Case of the Unfortunate Bosavern Penlez, published 
by T. Clement, S. Paul's Churchyard, 1749. 

As this was widely disseminated, and comments were 



THE CASE OF BOSAVERN PENLEZ 275 

passed that a grievous injustice had been committed, 
Henry Fielding, the magistrate, published an answer, 
entitled A True State of the Case of Bosavern Penlez. 
A. Miller, Strand, 1749. 

According to this, on July ist the house of one 
Owen, in the Strand, had been attacked. Nathaniel 
Munns, beadle, had tried to stop it, and two rioters 
were taken by the constables and conveyed to the 
prison of the Duchy of Lancaster Liberty. On Sunday, 
July 2nd, there was a recurrence of the riot, outside the 
beadle's house ; the windows were broken, the bars 
wrenched away, and the prisoners were released, and 
doors and windows of the watch-house were smashed. 

John Carter, constable, gave evidence as to July ist, 
that two wagon-loads of goods had been consumed by 
fire outside Owen's house. He appealed to General 
Campbell, at Somerset House, for assistance, and the 
General sent twelve of the Guards, when the rioters 
retreated, and began an attack on the house of one 
Stanhope, throwing stones, breaking windows, and 
pelting the soldiers, so that soon forty men of the 
Guards had to be despatched to disperse the rioters. 

On Sunday, July 2nd, according to the constable, 
the mob again assembled in front of Stanhope's house 
and demolished its contents. Mr. Wilson, a woollen 
draper, and Mr. Actor, of the same trade, applied 
for protection, as their shops adjoined the house of 
Stanhope, and again soldiers were sent for, who dis- 
persed the mob. 

James Cecil, Constable of St. George's parish, de- 
posed that on Monday, July 3rd, he was attending 
prisoners in a coach to Newgate, and he had difficulty 
in making his way through the mob ; and he saw the 
rioters engaged in smashing the windows of a house 
near the Old Bailey. 



276 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Saunders Welsh, gent., High Constable of Holborn, 
deposed that on Sunday, July and, he had received 
information from Stanhope, as to the wrecking of Owen's 
house on the previous night, and of his fears for his 
own. On returning that same evening through Fleet 
Street, he perceived a great fire in the Strand, upon 
which he proceeded to the house of Peter Wood, who 
informed him that the rioters had demolished the house 
of Stanhope, burning his furniture and goods, and 
that they threatened to deal in the same manner with 
his house. Whereupon, he, Mr. Saunders Welsh, 
applied at the Tilt-yard for a military force, which he 
could only obtain with much difficulty, as he could 
produce no order from a Justice of the Peace. At 
length he procured such order, and then an officer 
and forty men were sent to the scene of the riot. On 
reaching Cecil Street, he ordered that the drum should 
be beaten. When he came up to Peter Wood's house, 
he found that the mob had already in part demolished 
it, and had thrown a great part of its contents into the 
street, and were debating about burning them. Had 
they done so, the deponent said, it would infallibly 
have set fire to the houses on both sides of the street, 
which at that point was very narrow, and opposite 
Wood's house was the bank of Messrs. Snow and 
Denne. Hearing, however, the rattle of the drum, 
and the tramp of the advancing soldiers, the mob 
retreated, and it was whilst so retreating that Bosavern 
Penlez was arrested, carrying off with him some of 
the goods of Peter Wood. 

Penlez and others were brought before Henry 
Fielding, J. P. for Middlesex, and were committed to 
Newgate. This was on Monday. But the same even- 
ing there was a recrudescence of the riots, and four 
thousand sailors assembled on Tower Hill with the 



THE CASE OF BOSAVERN PENLEZ 277 

resolution to march to Temple Bar. To obviate all 
future danger, a larger party of soldiers was called 
out, and these, along with the peace officers, patrolled 
the Strand all night. 

Samuel Marsh, watchman of St. Dunstan's, had 
apprehended Bosavern Penlez, as he was making off 
with a bundle of linen, which he pretended belonged 
to his wife. Before he was arrested, the watchman 
saw him thrusting divers lace objects into his bosom 
and pockets, but he let fall a lace cap. When appre- 
hended, he protested that he was conveying his wife's 
property, who had pawned all his clothes, and that he 
was retaliating by taking her articles to pawn. 

There were other witnesses against Penlez, and 
although the evidence of Peter Wood was worthless, 
that of the beadles and watchmen sufficed to show 
that he had been collecting and making into a bundle 
various articles from Wood's house, with the object 
of purloining them. The question of Penlez having 
been in Wood's house was not gone into. Bosavern 
in vain called for witnesses to his character. His 
master, the peruke maker, declined to put in an ap- 
pearance and give favourable testimony ; for, in fact, 
Penlez had been leading a dissipated and disorderly 
life. Henry Fielding, in conclusion, says : "The first 
and second day of the riot, no magistrate, nor any 
other higher peace-officer than a petty constable (save 
only Mr. Welsh) interfered in it. On the third day 
only one magistrate took on him to act. When the 
prisoners were committed to Newgate, no public prose- 
cution was for some time ordered against them ; and 
when it was ordered, it was carried on so mildly, that 
one of the prisoners (Wilson) being not in prison, 
was, though contrary to the laws, at the desire of a 
noble person in great power, bailed out, when a capital 



278 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

indictment was then found against him. At the trial, 
neither an Attorney nor Solicitor-General, nor even 
one of the King's Council, appeared against the 
prisoners. Lastly, when two were convicted, one only 
was executed ; and I doubt very much whether even 
he would have suffered, had it not appeared that a 
capital indictment for burglary was likewise found by 
the Grand Jury against him, and upon such evidence 
as I think every impartial man must allow would have 
convicted him (had he been tried) for felony at least." 

There had been found on Penlez ten lace caps, four 
laced handkerchiefs, three pairs of laced ruffles, two 
laced clouts, five plain handkerchiefs, five plain aprons, 
one laced apron, all the property of the wife of Peter 
Wood. It was altogether false that Penlez was mar- 
ried. Fielding says : * ' I hope I have said enough to 
prove that the man who was made an example of 
deserved his fate. Which, if he did, I think it will 
follow that more hath been said and done in his favour 
than ought to have been ; and that the clamour of 
severity against the Government hath been in the 
highest degree unjustifiable. To say the truth, it 
would be more difficult to justify the lenity used on 
this occasion." 

The case of Bosavern Penlez was the more hard 
and open to criticism, in that, in the very same year, 
there was a serious riot in the Haymarket Theatre, 
when the Duke of Cumberland, a prince of the blood, 
had drawn his sword, and leaping upon the stage, had 
called on everybody to follow him. The people, ripe 
for mischief, were too loyal to decline a prince's invita- 
tion. The seats were smashed, the scenery torn down, 
and the wreckage carried into the street, where a bon- 
fire was made of it ; and but for the timely appearance 
of the authorities the building itself would have been 



THE CASE OF BOSAVERN PENLEZ 279 

added to the fuel. For this, no one was hanged. 
What was sauce for the goose was not sauce for the 
gander. 

Reference is made to the case of Bosavern Penlez in 
Walpole's Memoirs of the Last Ten Years of George II, 
I, p. II, and in the Private Journal of John Byrom, pub- 
lished by the Chetham Society, as also in the Gentle- 
man^ s Magazine for 1749. 



SAMUEL FOOTE 

THIS dramatic author and player was born at 
Truro in the year 1721.^ His father, John 
Foote, was a magistrate of the county of 
Cornwall and commissioner of the Prize 
office and Fine contract. He was well descended, 
deriving from the family of Foote of Trelogorsick, 
in Veryan, afterwards of Lambesso, in S. Clements, 
acquired by bequest in the reign of Charles H. 
The arms of the family were, vert a chevron 
between three doves argent — the doves singularly 
inappropriate as the cognizance of Samuel, as that 
bird was deemed to be without gall. Bodannan, 
in S. Enoder, was acquired by the Footes of Lam- 
besso by purchase. The family did not register its 
arms and establish its pedigree at the visitation of the 
Heralds in 1620, but that it was gentle admits of 
no dispute. As no pedigree of the family has been 
recorded, it is unknown who was the grandfather of 
Samuel Foote, but possibly he may have been the 
Samuel Foote of Tiverton whose daughter Eliza- 
beth married, 1691, Dennis Glyn of Cardinham, son 
\ of Nicolas Glyn of Cardinham, M.P. for Bodmin and 
j Sheriff of Cornwall. Samuel's mother, descended in 
the female line from the Earls of Rutland, was daughter 
of Sir Edward Goodere, Bart, who had two surviving 
brothers out of six — Sir John Dinely Goodere, Bart, 
and Samuel Goodere, captain of His Majesty's ship 

1 Baptized S. Mary's, Truro, Jan. 27th, 1720-1. 
280 



SAMUEL FOOTE 281 

Ruby. A disagreement having arisen between the two 
brothers, Sir John cut off the entail of his estates and 
settled them on his sister's family. This widened the 
breach, and the brothers had not spoken for years. 

Matters were in this train when, by accident, both 
brothers met in Bristol in the January of 1741. Samuel 
was then in command of his ship, lying in the roads. 
Sir John was invited to dine with Mr. Jarrit Smith, an 
attorney living on College Green, and the captain 
called on this gentleman and requested permission to 
be admitted to his table to meet his brother, whom he 
had not seen for a very long time. Mr. Smith readily 
acceded to this proposal, and was glad to have the 
opportunity of apparently reconciling the brothers. 
After dinner he left the room for an hour in order to 
afford them a better opportunity of completing the 
reconciliation. On his return he found them on the 
most friendly terms. In this manner they parted at six 
o'clock in the evening, the captain taking his leave 
first. When some half an hour later Sir John quitted 
the house, as he was passing the College Green Coffee- 
house, on his way to his lodgings, he was fallen upon 
by a party of the sailors of the Ruby and the Vernon 
privateer, with Captain Goodere at their head ; a cloak 
was thrown over his head to muffle his cries for help, 
and he was hurried to a boat, awaiting them in the 
river, and conveyed thence on board the Ruby. When 
there, they got him into the purser's cabin, and the 
captain, by promises of ample reward, induced two of 
his sailors, Matthew Mahony and Charles White, to 
strangle him. In order to effect this the captain cut the 
cord that attached his escritoire to the floor of the cabin, 
and himself passed it round his brother's neck. Then, 
drawing his sword, he stood sentinel at the door and 
bade the two ruffians do their duty. Owing to the 



282 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

struggles of Sir John and the nervousness of the men, 
half an hour elapsed before the baronet was dead. At 
last, when all was over, the captain deliberately walked 
to his brother's body, held a candle over it to assure 
himself that he was dead, and exclaimed, "Aye, this 
will do ; his business is now done." 

Next day the circumstance of a gentleman having 
been kidnapped on College Green induced Mr. Smith 
to make inquiries ; when, finding that the description 
of the gentleman answered to the person of Sir John 
Dinely Goodere, he entertained strong suspicions of 
foul play shown by his brother, and he applied to the 
mayor of Bristol for a warrant to search the Ruby. 
This was granted, and there the baronet was found 
strangled in the purser's cabin, and the captain already 
secured by the first lieutenant and two of the men, who 
had overheard the conference relative to the murder. 

Captain Samuel Goodere and his two associates were 
tried at the next assizes at Bristol on March 26th, 1741, 
were found guilty of "wilful murder," and were hanged. 

Thus Mrs. Foote, deriving under the will of her 
brother Sir John, became heiress to his estates. 

John Foote had two sons by this lady, Samuel and 
Edward. The first, the subject of this memoir, was 
designed for the Bar ; the second for the Church. 
This latter was a feeble-minded man, who never 
obtained preferment, dribbled away his fortune, and 
was latterly in great distress, supported by the 
liberality of his brother. 

Foote was sent to school as a boy under the worthy Mr. 
Conon, head-master of Truro Grammar School. There 
he was initiated into Terence's plays, and in acting his 
part excelled all his schoolfellows, and it was in con- 
sequence of his success within this little circle that he 
caught his first inspiration for the stage. 



SAMUEL FOOTE 283 

One of the earliest instances of his jocularity, as 
practised on his own father, is related by R. Polwhele 
in his Traditions and Recollections. Imitating the 
voice of Mr. Nicholas Donnithorne, from an inner 
apartment where his father had supposed that gentle- 
man was sitting, he drew his father into conversation 
on the subject of a family transaction between the two 
old gentlemen, and thus possessed himself of a secret, 
which, whilst it displayed his power of mimicry, justly 
incurred his parent's displeasure. 

Mr. Polwhele says : " Those (of the inhabitants of 
Truro) are gone who used in his presence to arise 
trembling with their mirth. Conscious of some odd- 
nesses in their appearance or character, they shrunk 
from his sly observation. They knew that every 
civility, every hospitable attention, could not save 
them from his satire ; and, after such experience, 
they naturally avoided his company instead of courting 
it. Foote, indeed, had no restraint upon himself, with 
respect either to his conversation or his conduct. He 
was, in every sense of the word, a libertine. . . . 
He was certainly a very unamiable character. Polly 
Hicks, a pretty, silly, simpering girl, was dazzled by 
his wit. She had some property ; he therefore made 
her his wife, but never treated her as such." 

The father died soon after the establishment of his sons 
in their several professions; but the mother lived to the 
advanced age of eighty-four. W. Cooke says of her : — 

"We had the pleasure of dining with her, in 
company with a granddaughter of hers, at a barrister's 
chambers in Gray's Inn, when she was at the age of 
seventy-nine ; and although she had full sixty steps 
to ascend before she reached the drawing-room, she 
did it without the help of a cane, and with all the 
activity of a woman of forty. 



284 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

"Her manners and conversation were of the same 
cast — witty, humorous, and convivial ; and though her 
remarks occasionally (considering her age and sex) 
rather strayed beyond the limits of becoming mirth, 
she, on the whole, delighted everybody, and was con- 
fessedly the heroine of that day's party. 

"She was likewise in face and person the very 
model of her son Samuel — short, fat, and flabby, with 
an eye that eternally gave the signal for mirth and 
good humour ; in short, she resembled him so much 
in all her movements, and so strongly identified his 
person and manners, that by changing habits they 
might be thought to have interchanged sexes." 

After leaving school Samuel Foote received his edu- 
cation at Worcester College, Oxford, formerly Glouces- 
ter Hall, which owed its refoundation and change of name 
to Sir Thomas Cooke, Bart., a second cousin of Samuel. 

The church connected with the college fronted a lane, 
where cattle were sometimes turned out to graze during 
the night, and the bell-rope hung very low in the middle 
of the outside porch. Foote one night made a loop in 
the cord and inserted a wisp of hay. One of the cows 
smelling this seized it, and by tugging at the rope 
made the bell ring, and continue to ring at jerky in- 
tervals till the hay was consumed. This produced 
consternation in the neighbourhood ; people ran out of 
their houses thinking that there must be a fire some- 
where. The same happened next and the following 
nights, and it was concluded that the church was 
haunted. But Dr. Gower, the then provost, and the 
sexton sat up one night and watched, and discovered 
that this was a prank of one of the scholars. 

From the University Foote was removed to the 
Temple, but the dryness of the law was not to his 
taste, and he turned to the stage. 



SAMUEL FOOTE 285 

His first appearance was in the part of Othello at 
the Haymarket Theatre, February 6th, 1747. But as 
Macklin said on this occasion, "it was little better 
than a total failure. Neither his figure, voice, nor 
manners corresponded with the character ; and in those 
mixed passages of tenderness and rage the former was 
expressed so whiningly, and the latter in a tone so 
sharp and inharmonious, that the audience could scarcely 
refrain from laughing." 

Probably he speedily saw that his genius did not lie 
in the direction of tragedy, and he soon struck out into 
a new and untrodden path, in which he at once attained 
the two great ends of affording entertainment to the 
people and gaining emolument for himself. He opened 
the Haymarket Theatre in the spring of 1747 with a 
piece of his own writing, entitled The Diversions of the 
Morning. This consisted of a mimicry of the best- 
known men of the day— actors, doctors, lawyers, states- 
men. Had he contented himself with this he might 
not have been interfered with, but to the piece of 
mimicry he added the performance of popular farces 
— and he had failed to procure a licence. To evade 
this difficulty he announced his entertainment as a 
Concert of Music, after which would be given gratis 
his Diversions and a play. 

The managers of the patent houses could not tolerate 
such an infringement of their rights. They appealed 
to the Westminster magistrates, and on the second 
night the constables entered the theatre and dispersed 
the audience. 

But Foote was not so easily put down. The very 
next morning he published the following statement in 
the General Advertiser: "On Saturday afternoon, 
exactly at twelve o'clock, at the New Theatre in the 
Haymarket, Mr. Foote begs the favour of his friends 



286 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

to come and drink a dish of chocolate with him, and 
'tis hoped there will be a great deal of company and 
some joyous spirits. He will endeavour to make the 
morning as diverting as possible. Tickets to be had 
for this entertainment at George's Coffee House, Temple 
Bar, without which no one will be admitted. N.B. — 
Sir Dilbury Diddle will be there, and Lady Betty Frisk 
has absolutely promised." No one knew what this 
advertisement meant, and a crowded house was the 
natural result. When the curtain rose Foote came 
forward and informed the audience that "as he was 
training some young performers for the stage, he 
would, with their permission, whilst chocolate was 
getting ready, proceed with his instructions before 
them." Then some young people, engaged for the 
purpose, were brought upon the stage, and under the 
pretence of instructing them in the art of acting, he 
introduced his imitations. 

As he was not interfered with, he changed the hour 
to the evening and substituted tea for chocolate. 

He mimicked Quin as a watchman, with deep, 
sonorous voice calling out, " Past twelve o'clock, and 
a cloudy morning " ; Delane as a one-eyed beggar ; 
Peg Woffington as an orange girl, and imitated the 
unpleasant squealing tone of her voice ; Garrick in his 
dying scenes, on which he prided himself. 

As may well be supposed, actors, who are peculiarly 
sensitive to ridicule, were offended. When they ap- 
peared in a grave play, as for instance, when Garrick 
was dying on the stage, the audience laughed, recalling 
what they had witnessed at the Haymarket. They 
complained, "What is fun to you is death to us," but 
Foote paid no regard to their remonstrances ; he laughed 
and pursued his course. He was perfectly unscrupulous, 
wholly devoid of delicacy of feeling, and would turn his 



SAMUEL FOOTE 287 

best friend and benefactor into ridicule in public. But 
when, later, Weston took him off, he was highly in- 
censed, and bided his time to be revenged on him. 

Next year Foote called his performance "An Auction 
of Pictures." Here is one of his advertisements : "At 
the forty-ninth day's sale at his auction rooms in the 
Haymarket Mr. Foote will exhibit a choice collection 
of pictures — some new lots, consisting of a poet, a 
beau, a Frenchman, a miser, a taylor, a sot, two young 
gentlemen, and a ghost. Two of which are originals, 
the rest copies from the best masters." In this several 
well-known characters were mimicked — Sir Thomas 
Deveil, then the acting magistrate for Westminster, 
Cook, the auctioneer, and orator Henley. To the 
attractions of his " Auction," in ridicule of the Italian 
Opera, he gave a ' ' Cat Concert. " The principal per- 
former in this was a man well known at the time by 
the name of Cat Harris. Harris had attended several 
rehearsals, where his mewing gave great satisfaction 
to the manager and performers. However, on the last 
rehearsal Harris was missing, and as nobody knew 
where he lived, Shuter was deputed to find him, if 
possible. He inquired in vain for some time ; at last 
he was informed that he lived in a certain court in the 
Minories, but at which house he could not exactly 
learn. Shuter entered the court and set up a cat solo, 
which instantly roused his brother musician in his 
garret, who answered him in the same tune. " Ho, 
ho ! Are you there, my friend?" said Shuter. " Come 
along ; the stage waits for you." 

Fashion, as usual, flocked to the Haymarket to hear 
and see its tastes turned into ridicule. 

At the close of the season (1748) Foote was left a 
considerable fortune by a relative of his mother, which 
enabled him to move in all that luxury of dissipation 



288 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

which was so congenial to his temper. Then he 
departed suddenly for Paris and communicated with 
none of his friends. Some supposed him to have been 
killed in a duel, some that he had been hanged, some 
that he had drunk himself to death. But he reappeared 
in London at the close of the season of 1752, having 
dissipated the fortune left him, but having enriched 
his mind with studies made in France. He brought 
with him a play he had composed, The Englishman in 
Paris, which was brought out at Covent Garden 
Theatre on March 24th, 1753, and it proved a success ; 
so much so, that Murphy, the dramatic author, wrote 
a sequel to it. The Englishman returned from Paris, 
which he had the frankness to show to Foote, who was 
his friend. Foote, without a word, without asking 
leave, appropriated the plot and characters, and turned 
out a farce with the same title before Murphy had 
placed his. Murphy was, naturally, highly offended, 
and produced his play in another theatre, but without 
great success, as Foote's play had already taken with 
the public. 

In the season of 1757 Foote produced at Drury Lane 
his comedy of The Author, that principally turns on 
the distresses incident to a writer dependent on his pen 
for his daily bread, and on the caricature of a gentle- 
man of family and fortune, whom he entitled Cad- 
walader, who appears ambitious to be thought a patron 
of the arts and sciences, of which he is profoundly 
ignorant. Cadwalader was a caricature of one of his 
most intimate friends, a Mr. Ap Rice, a man of fortune 
and education, and allied to many families of distinc- 
tion. At his table, where Foote was hospitably received, 
in open and unguarded familiar discourse, Ap Rice 
had laid himself open to ridicule. The Welsh gentle- 
man was stout, had a broad, unmeaning stare, a loud 



SAMUEL FOOTE 289 

voice, and boisterous manner, and as he spoke his 
head was continually turning to his left shoulder. 
The farce was performed for several nights to crowded 
audiences before Mr. Ap Rice felt the keenness of the 
satire. At last the joke became so serious, that when- 
ever he went abroad, in the park, the coffee-house, or 
the assembly, he heard himself spoken of as Cad- 
walader, and pointed at with suppressed laughter, or 
heard quotations from his part in the play: "This is 
Becky, my dear Becky." Mightily offended, and 
really hurt, he applied to Foote to have the piece sup- 
pressed. But this Foote would not hear of — it was 
drawing crowded houses. Then Ap Rice applied to 
the Lord Chamberlain and obtained an injunction to 
restrain the performance. 

Dr. Johnson was informed by a mutual friend that 
Foote was going to produce an impersonation of 
him on the stage. "What is the price of a cane?" 
asked the doctor. "Sixpence." "Then," said he, "here 
is a shilling ; go and fetch me the stoutest you can 
purchase, and tell Mr. Foote that at his first perform- 
ance I shall visit the theatre, go on the stage, and 
thrash him soundly." 

This was repeated to the mimic, and he deemed it 
advisable to desist from this impersonation. 

In A Trip to Calais he threatened to ridicule the 
notorious Duchess of Kingston unless bought off. The 
audacity of his personalities was astounding, where 
he thought he could use his gift of mimicry without 
being subject to chastisement. In the Orators, 1762, 
he personated, under the name of Peter Paragraph, 
a noted printer and publisher and alderman of Dublin, 
known as One-legged Faulkener. The imitation was 
perfect. The Irishman brought an action for libel 
against him, and a trial ensued. But Nemesis of 
u 



290 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

another sort fell on him four years later. In 1766 he 
was on a visit to Lord Mexborough, where he met the 
Duke of York, Lord Delaval, and others, when some 
of the party, wishing to have a little fun with Foote, 
drew him into conversation on horsemanship, and the 
comedian boasted "that although he generally pre- 
ferred the luxury of a post-chaise, he could ride as well 
as most men he knew." He was urged to join that 
morning in the chase, and was mounted on a high- 
spirited, mettlesome horse belonging to the Duke of 
York, that flung him as soon as he was in the saddle, 
and his leg was so fractured that it had to be amputated, 
and its place supplied by one of cork. 

The Duke of York was not a little concerned at the 
part he had taken in this practical joke, and to make 
what amends he could obtained for him a royal patent 
to erect a theatre in the city and liberties of West- 
minster, from the 14th May to the 14th September, 
during the term of his natural life. This was giving 
him a fortune at one stroke, and Foote immediately 
purchased the old premises in the Haymarket and 
erected a new theatre on the same ground, which was 
opened in the May following, 1767. He made con- 
siderable profits, and lodged twelve hundred pounds 
at his banker's and kept five hundred in cash. 

But his usual demon of extravagance haunted him. 
He went to Bath and fell in with a nest of gamblers, 
who rapidly swindled him, not only out of his five 
hundred, but also out of the sum he had placed with 
his banker. Several of the frequenters of the rooms 
saw that he was being cheated, and the Right Hon. 
Richard Rigby, Paymaster of the Forces, took an 
opportunity of telling him that he was being plundered, 
"that from his careless manner of playing and betting, 
and his habit of telling stories when he should be 



SAMUEL FOOTE 291 

minding his game, he must in the long run be ruined." 
Foote, instead of taking this hint in good part, 
answered angrily and so insultingly that Rigby with- 
drew. 

When he had money he spent it in play and pro- 
fligacy. Three fortunes had been left him, and he 
threw all away, and adopted as his motto, "Iterum, 
iterum, iterumque." 

His mother, as has been said, had inherited a large 
fortune, but she had squandered it and was locked up 
in the Fleet Prison for debt. Thence she wrote to her 
son : — 

"Dear Sam, 

" I am in prison for debt ; come and assist your 
loving mother, -E. Foote." 

To this brief note he replied : — 

" Dear Mother, 

"So am I ; which prevents his duty being paid 
to his loving mother by her affectionate son, 

"Sam. Foote." 

When bringing out his comedy of The Minor con- 
siderable objections were started to its being licensed, 
and among other objectors was Seeker, Archbishop of 
Canterbury. Foote offered to submit the play to him 
for revision, with permission to strike out whatever he 
deemed objectionable. But the prelate was not to be 
trapped thus. He knew well that had he done this, 
Foote would have advertised its performance "as 
altered and amended by his Grace the Archbishop of 
Canterbury." 

Having made a trip to Ireland, he was asked on his 
return what impression was made on him by the Irish 
peasantry, and replied that they gave him great satis- 



292 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

faction, as they settled a question that had long agitated 
his mind, and that was, what became of the cast clothes 
of English beggars. 

One evening at the coffee-house he was asked if he 
had attended the funeral of a very intimate friend, the 
son of a baker. "Oh yes, certainly," said he; "just 
seen him shoved into the family oven." 

Although he had on more than one occasion applied 
to Garrick for loans of a few hundred pounds, this did 
not deter him from mimicking Garrick, and when the 
Shakespeare Jubilee took place at Stratford-on-Avon, 
under the superintendence of this latter, Foote was so 
jealous and envious of its success, that he schemed 
bringing out a mock procession in imitation of it, with 
a man dressed to resemble Garrick in the character of 
the Steward of the Jubilee, with his wand, white- 
topped gloves, and Shakespeare medal ; whilst some 
ragamuffin was to address him in the lines of the 
Jubilee poet-laureate — 

A nation's taste depends on you, 
Perhaps a nation's virtue too ; 

to which the mimic Garrick was to reply by clapping 
his arms, like the wings of a cock, and crowing — 

Cock-a-doodle-doo ! 

It was with difficulty that Foote could be deterred 
from carrying his scheme into effect. 

But, indeed, he spared no one. He had been sepa- 
rated practically, though not legally, from his wife, 
whom to his friends and acquaintances he spoke of as 
"the Washerwoman." She was a quiet, inoffensive, 
worthy woman ; and his friends induced him after a 
while to allow her to return to his house. As it chanced, 
her conveyance was upset on the way, and she was 
thrown out and much cut and bruised in her face and 



SAMUEL FOOTE 293 

person. Instead of sympathizing with her, he turned 
the matter into joke with his boon companions, and 
said, " If you want to see a map of the world, go and 
look at my wife's face. There is the Black Sea in her 
eye, the Red Sea in her gashes, and the Yellow Sea in 
all her bruises." 

Dining once with Earl Kelly at his house at North 
End in the early part of the spring, his lordship, who 
was a bon •vivant and had a very red face, apologized 
during dinner that he was unable to give the party 
cucumbers that day, as none were ripe. "Your own 
fault, my lord," said Foote. " Why didn't you thrust 
your nose into the hot-house ? " 

On another occasion, Foote calling on the elder 
Colman, the dramatist, heard him complain of want 
of sleep. " Read one of your own plays," said 
Foote. 

Dining one day with Lord Stormont, he noticed the 
diminutive size of the decanters and glasses. His 
lordship boasted of the age of his wine. " Dear me," 
said Foote. " It is very little, considering its age." 

A young parson was on his honeymoon. " I'll give 
you a text for your next sermon," said Foote : " Grant 
us thy peace so long as the moon endureth." 

Some one asked Dr. Johnson whether he did not 
think that Foote had a singular talent for exhibiting 
character. " No, sir," replied the doctor. "It is not 
a talent, it is a vice. It is what others abstain from. 
His imitations are not like. He gives you something 
different from himself, without going into other people. 
He is like a painter who can draw the portrait of a man 
who has a wen on his face. He can give you the wen, 
but not the man." 

In The Mayor of Garratt Foote took off and held 
up to derision the old Duke of Newcastle, under the 



294 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

name of Matthew Mug. Of the Duke he was wont to 
say that he always appeared as if he had lost an hour in 
the morning and was looking for it all day. In The 
Patron he satirized Lord Melcombe, but indeed there 
were few with any peculiarity of manner or taste or 
appearance, whom he was able to study, whom he did 
not hold up to public ridicule. 

The first time that George II attended the Hay market 
The Mayor of Garratt was on the stage. When His 
Majesty arrived at the theatre, Foote, as manager, 
hobbled to the stage door to receive him ; but, as he 
played in the first piece, instead of wearing the court 
dress usual on these occasions, he was equipped in the 
immense cocked hat, cumbrous boots, and all the other 
military paraphernalia of Major Sturgeon. The 
moment the King cast his eyes on this extraordinary 
figure, as he stood bowing, stumping, and wriggling 
with his wooden leg, George II receded in astonish- 
ment, exclaiming to his attendants, "Look! Vat 
is dat man — and to vat regiment does he belong?" 
Even Samuel's not very bright brother came in for his 
sneers. Edward Foote was fond of hanging about the 
theatre, and frequented the green-room. Some one 
asked Samuel who that man was. "He?" replied 
Foote. "He's my barber." Somewhat later the rela- 
tionship came out, and the same person remarked to 
him on his having spoken so contemptuously of 
Edward. " Why," said Samuel, " I could not in con- 
science say he was a brother-wit, so I set him down as 
a brother-shaver." 

Retribution came on him at last. 

The reason why Foote did not produce his " take-off" 
of the Duchess of Kingston as Lady Kitty Crocodile 
has never transpired. According to one account, he had 
threatened to caricature her in the hopes of levying 



SAMUEL FOOTE 295 

blackmail on her to stop the production ; according to 
another, he received threats that made him fear for his 
life, or at least a public horse-whipping, if he proceeded, 
and he altered the character. But he was very angry, 
and to be revenged he produced a piece, The 
Capttchin, which was the original Trip to Calais 
altered, but his satire was transferred from the Duchess 
to her chaplain, named Jackson, whom he held up to 
public scorn as Doctor Viper. 

Jackson was furious, and trumped up a vile charge 
against Foote, by the aid of a coachman whom the 
actor had discharged from his service for misconduct. 
Foote had made so many enemies that those whom he 
had wounded and mortified found the money for a 
prosecution ; and the case was tried at King's Bench 
before Lord Mansfield and a special jury. But it broke 
down completely, and Foote was acquitted. 

As soon as the trial was over, his fellow dramatist 
Murphy took a coach and drove to Foote's house in 
Suffolk Street, Charing Cross, to be the first messenger 
of the good tidings. 

Foote had been looking out of the window in 
anxious expectation of such a message. Murphy, as 
soon as he perceived him, waved his hat in token of 
victory, and jumping out of the coach, ran upstairs, to 
find Foote extended on the floor, in hysterics. In this 
condition he continued for nearly an hour before he 
could be recovered to any kind of recollection of 
himself. 

The charge, and the anxiety of the trial, broke his 
heart ; he never thoroughly rallied after it, and sold his 
patent in the Haymarket Theatre to George Colman on 
January i6th, 1777. By the terms of this agreement 
Colman obliged himself to pay Foote an annuity of 
sixteen hundred pounds. 



296 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Having in some degree recovered his health, he was 
advised by his physician to try the south of France 
during the winter ; and with this intent he reached 
Dover on the 20th October, 1777, on his way to 
Calais. 

Whilst at Dover, he went into the kitchen of the inn 
to order a particular dish for dinner, and the cook, 
understanding that he was about to embark for France, 
began to brag of her powers, and defy him to find any 
better cuisine abroad, though, for her part, she said, 
she had never crossed the water. "Why cookey," 
said Foote, "that cannot be, for above stairs they 
informed me you have been several t\raes all over grease 
(Greece)." "They may say what they like," retorted 
she, " but I was never ten miles from Dover in all my 
life." "Nay, now," said Foote, "that must be a fib, 
for I myself have seen you at Spit-head." 

This was his last joke. Next morning he was seized 
with a shivering fit whilst at breakfast, which increas- 
ing, he was put to bed. Another fit succeeded that 
lasted three hours. He then seemed inclined to sleep, 
and presently with a deep sigh expired on October 
2ist, 1777, in the fifty-seventh year of his age. He was 
buried in Westminster Abbey. 

The authors of the Biographica Drainatica say of 
his farces "Mr. Foote's dramatic works are all to be 
ranked among the petites pieces of the theatre, as he 
never attempted anything which attained the bulk of 
the more perfect drama. In the execution of them they 
are sometimes loose, negligent, and unfinished, seeming 
rather to be the hasty productions of a man of genius, 
whose Pegasus, though endued with fire, has no in- 
clination for fatigue, than the laboured finishings of a 
professed dramatist aiming at immortality. His plots 
are somewhat irregular, and their catastrophes not 



SAMUEL FOOTE 297 

always conclusive or perfectly wound up. Yet, with 
all these little deficiencies, it must be confessed that 
they contain more of one essential property of comedy, 
viz. strong character, than the writings of any other 
of our modern authors." 



THE LAST LORD MOHUN 

THE first of the family of Mohun known to 
history came over with the Conqueror from 
Normandy, and received the name and title 
of Sapell, Earl of Somerset. How the earl- 
dom lapsed we do not know, but a Mohun next appears 
as Baron of Dunster. Apparently, but not certainly, 
the earldom was taken from them by Henry III, for 
siding against him with the Barons in 1297. A branch 
of the family settled at Boconnoc early in the fifteenth 
century. In the church of Lanteglos by Fowey is a 
brass of William Mohun, who died in 1508. Sir 
Reginald Mohun, Knt., was sherig_of Gornwall in 
1553 and 1560. He was squire of the body to Queen 
Elizabeth, and his son, Sir William Mohun, was sheriff 
in 1572 and 1578. His son. Sir Reginald, was created 
baronet in 1612, and his grandson John was raised to 
be Baron Mohun of Okehampton in 1628. Warwick, 
the second Lord Mohun, died in 1665, leaving a son, 
Charles, third Baron, who married Lady Philippa 
Annesley, daughter of the Earl of Anglesea, and by her 
had a son Charles, fourth Baron, and a daughter Eliza- 
beth, who died unmarried. He acted as second to Lord 
Candish in a duel, where he was wounded in the belly 
and died soon after ; he was buried October 20th, 1677. 
Charles, fourth Baron Mohun of Okehampton, was 
married in the first place to Charlotte, daughter of 
Thomas Mainwaring. With her he lived unhappily 
and was separated from her, nor would he acknowledge 




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THE LAST LORD MOHUN 299 

the daughter born to her as being his own child. He 
had the good fortune, however, to be rid of her at last, 
as she was drowned on a passage to Ireland with one of 
her gallants. He married secondly Elizabeth, daughter 
of Dr. Thomas Laurence, physician to Queen Anne, and 
widow of Colonel Edward Griffith. 

Fitton Gerrard, Earl of Macclesfield, maternal uncle 
of his first wife, to make him some amends for his bad 
bargain, left to Lord Mohun a good part of his estate. 

Charles, fourth Baron Mohun, was of a contentious 
nature, and was involved in several duels. He fought 
Lord Kennedy on December 7th, 1692. On October 
7th, 1694, ^ Mr. Scobell, a Cornish M.P,, interfered 
with Lord Mohun, who was attempting to kill a coach- 
man in Pall Mall. Mohun, furious at being interfered 
with, cut Mr. Scobell over the head, and afterwards 
challenged him. He was also engaged in a duel with 
a Captain Bingham on April 7th, 1697, when he was 
wounded in the hand. He was next engaged in a 
quarrel with a Captain Hill of the Foot Guards, at 
the Rummer Tavern on September 14th, 1697 ; he 
managed to kill Hill. 

The story of the murder of Mountford the actor by 
Captain Hill, in which Lord Mohun was involved as 
abetter, is given very fully by Sir Bernard Burke, in 
his Romance of the Aristocracy, 1855, and I will here 
condense his account. 

Mrs. Bracegirdle was at the time a very charming 
actress, with a delicious voice of remarkable flexibility, 
and her singing of such a song as Eccles' " The bonny, 
bonny breeze " brought down the house ; but the mad 
song, " I burn, my brain consumes to ashes," as sung 
by her in the character of Marcella in Don Quixote, 
was considered one of her masterpieces. Cibber 
says that all the extravagance and frantic passion of 



300 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Lee's Alexander the Great were excusable when Mrs. 
Bracegirdle played Statira ; that scarcely an audi- 
ence saw her that were not half her lovers without a 
suspected favourite among them. In an age of general 
dissoluteness she bore an immaculate reputation, and 
the licentious men about town knew perfectly well that 
she was beyond the reach of their solicitations. Mrs. 
Bracegirdle had a friend, "a miracle of fine acting," 
Mrs. Mountford, also a performer at the Theatre Royal, 
Drury Lane, and became intimate with her. Some of 
the malicious, who could ill believe that an actress was 
virtuous, supposed that Mrs. Bracegirdle favoured that 
lady's husband, who was a good actor of heroic 
tragedy. 

Among the many admirers of Mrs. Bracegirdle was 
a Captain Richard Hill. So infatuated was he with 
her charms, that he proposed to marry her ; but, when 
she rejected his offer, he regarded this as an insult, 
and supposed that she had been persuaded by Mount- 
ford to refuse him. Hill, in ungovernable wrath, vowed 
that he would kill the actor who had dared to tender 
advice to the beautiful Mrs. Bracegirdle to reject his 
offer, and also to carry off his mistress by force. 

At a supper, where were Lord Mohun, Captain Hill, 
Colonel Tredenham, and a Mr. Powell, Hill spoke 
openly of his purpose, and turning to Powell said, " I 
am resolved to have the blood of Mountford." Powell, 
who was a friend to both parties, took alarm at these 
words, and replied that he should certainly inform 
Mountford of the threat and caution him to be on his 
guard. Captain Hill then drew off from him, and 
approached Lord Mohun, whom he speedily discovered 
to be ready to act as his ally. 

Along with Mohun, Hill now seriously set about the 
requisite preparations for carrying out his purpose. 



THE LAST LORD MOHUN 301 

which they agreed should take place the following 
night. With this view, their first care was to order a 
coach to be in waiting for them at nine o'clock in 
Drury Lane, near the theatre ; but, so as not to attract 
particular notice, with two horses only, while a reserve 
of four more was to be held in readiness at the stables, 
to convey Hill and Mrs. Bracegirdle to Totteridge. 
That they expected a serious resistance was apparent, 
for they not only provided themselves with pistols, but 
had bribed a party of soldiers to assist them in the 
enterprise. 

During the day the confederates dined together at a 
tavern in Covent Garden, and talked openly of their 
intention, before several other persons who were 
present. But strangely enough, not a syllable reached 
those interested, to give them timely warning. Yet 
the conversation was of a nature to excite attention ; 
they discussed the scheme unreservedly, and Lord 
Mohun remarked that the affair would cost at least fifty 
pounds ; to which Hill replied, " If that villain Mount- 
ford resist I will stab him." "And I will stand your 
friend if you do," observed Lord Mohun. 

It so happened, however, that Mrs. Bracegirdle did 
not play that night, and the confederates learned the 
fact, as also that she was supping at the house of a 
Mr. Page in Princes Street hard by, and thither, ac- 
cordingly, they repaired, planting themselves with the 
soldiers over against a house occupied by Lord Craven. 

Nine o'clock struck, and still no signs of her for 
whom they were watching. They began to think that 
they must have been misinformed and ordered the 
coachman to drive to Howard Street, where Mrs. 
Bracegirdle lodged, in the house of a Mrs. Browne. 
Howard Street is a cross-way leading from Arundel 
Street, through Norfolk Street, to Surrey Street, in the 



302 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

former of which lived Mountford, so that it was not 
possible for the actor on his return from the theatre to 
fail coming upon them. Here, however, they did not 
remain long, their suspicions having been excited by 
the appearance of several individuals pacing up and 
down in front of the lady's lodgings, and these they 
thought must be spies set to watch their proceedings. 
They accordingly returned to their former station by 
the house of Mr. Page. At ten o'clock the door opened 
and that gentleman issued forth along with Mrs. Brace- 
girdle, her mother and brother, and volunteered to 
accompany them home, an offer they declined, as they 
said that they needed no further protection ; however, 
he attended them part of the way. On coming up 
Drury Lane they were surprised to see a crowd about 
a coach drawn up before the house of Lord Craven, 
with the steps down. In this Lord Mohun was seated, 
with several cases of pistols near him. Before they 
had time to inquire into the meaning of this, two of 
the soldiers rushed forward, forced Mrs. Bracegirdle 
away from Page, and would have dragged her to the 
coach but that her mother clung about her neck, in 
spite of some rough handling by the ruffians. There- 
upon up ran Hill, and he struck at both Page and the 
old lady with his drawn sword ; but some of the crowd 
looking on interfered so effectually that he found him- 
self obliged to withdraw. However, he rallied, and 
pretending that there was a disturbance and that the 
lady was in danger and that she required safe conduct, 
he so persuaded Mrs. Bracegirdle that he had no part 
in the matter that she allowed him to escort her and 
her mother to their home, and Lord Mohun and the 
soldiers followed as though in pursuit, Hill occasionally 
facing round as though to dare them to approach. 
Upon reaching Howard Street the soldiers were dis- 



THE LAST LORD MOHUN 303 

missed, as being no longer required, as it was now 
deemed impossible to carry out the original plan of a 
forcible abduction. 

Just as Hill was about to withdraw, he plucked Page 
by the sleeve, and intimated to him that he had a 
desire to speak with him in private ; but that gentle- 
man, who was eager to be back at his own house, 
replied hastily that "another time would do ; to-morrow 
would serve." 

However, no sooner was Mrs. Bracegirdle safe within 
the house, than the others, fearing that evil might be- 
fall Page, laid hold of him and drew him within, and 
closed the door in the face of Captain Hill. 

Instead of having his ardour cooled by his rebuff, 
the captain became more wroth, and determined to 
revenge himself on Mountford ; and in conjunction 
with Lord Mohun, he continued pacing up and down 
the street for two mortal hours with his sword drawn. 

Those within the house being greatly alarmed at 
their proceedings, sent Mrs. Browne out to inquire the 
reason of this. To this they replied, with the utmost 
frankness, that they were awaiting the arrival of Mr. 
Mountford. As evidence that the besiegers had no 
intention of withdrawing, they sent for a couple of 
bottles of wine, when the watch came up and asked 
what they were doing in the streets at such an hour of 
the night with drawn swords in their hands. 

These inquiries were cut short at once by Lord 
Mohun saying, "I am a peer of the realm ; touch me 
if you dare ! " a reply that so staggered the watch 
that they slunk away without further question. They 
had, however, observed the waiter who brought the 
wine and they followed him to the tavern to draw from 
him an explanation they did not venture to demand 
from a nobleman. 



304 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Whilst the besiegers were tipping off their wine, the 
besieged found an opportunity for sending a messenger 
to warn Mrs. Mountford of the danger threatening her 
husband and to bid her communicate with him. Nor 
was this the only one, a second and perhaps a third 
were also despatched to caution him. But unhappily 
every one of these messengers failed to reach him, and 
at midnight he came along the street on his way home- 
ward without entertaining the least apprehension. 

Lord Mohun was the first to meet and salute the 
unhappy man, when the latter expressed his surprise at 
finding his lordship there at such an hour. 

"I suppose you have been sent for?" was the curt 
reply. Mountford said, No — he was there on his way 
home from the playhouse. 

" You know all about the lady, I imagine," said Lord 
Mohun. 

Mountford not understanding the drift of his words 
said, " I hope that my wife has given you no offence." 
"You mistake me," said Lord Mohun; "it is Mrs. 
Bracegirdle that I mean." 

"Mrs. Bracegirdle is no concern of mine," replied 
Mountford ; " but I hope your lordship does not 
countenance any ill action of Mr. Hill." 

The conversation was interrupted by the impatient 
captain, who suddenly started forward, and exclaiming, 
" This is no longer the time for such discourses ! " 
struck Mountford with his left hand, and immediately 
ran him through the body. The wounded man did not 
fall to the ground at once ; he had still, for a moment, 
sufficient strength left to draw his sword, though not 
to use it, when, exhausted by the effort, he sank upon 
the ground. 

A cry of murder arose, Hill fled, and the watch came 
up now from the tavern where they had been question- 



THE LAST LORD MOHUN 305 

ing the drawer and imbibing. Mountford was carried 
to his own lodgings, where he died, about one o'clock 
in the afternoon of the same day, for it was some time 
after midnight when the affair took place. 

"The grand jury of Middlesex," says Macaulay, 
"consisting of gentlemen of note, found a bill of 
murder against Hill and Mohun. Hill escaped. Mohun 
was taken. His mother threw herself at King William's 
feet, but in vain. ' It was a cruel act,' said the King. 
' I shall leave it to the law.' 

"The trial came on in the Court of the Lord High 
Steward, and, as Parliament happened to be sitting, 
the culprit had the advantage of being judged by the 
whole body of the peerage. There was then no lawyer 
in the Upper House. It therefore became necessary, 
for the first time since Buckhurst had pronounced 
sentence on Essex and Southampton, that a peer 
who had never made jurisprudence his special study 
should preside over that grave tribunal. Caermarthen, 
who, as Lord President, took precedence of all the 
nobility, was appointed Lord High Steward. A full 
report of the proceedings has come down to us. No 
person, who carefully examines that report, and attends 
to the opinion unanimously given by the judges in 
answer to a question which Nottingham drew up, and 
in which the facts brought out by the evidence are 
stated with perfect fairness, can doubt that the crime of 
murder was fully brought home to the prisoner. Such 
was the opinion of the King, who was present during 
the trial ; and such was the almost unanimous opinion 
of the public. Had the issue been tried by Holt and 
twelve plain men at the Old Bailey, there can be no 
doubt that a verdict of Guilty would have been re- 
turned. The Peers, however, by sixty-nine votes to 
fourteen, acquitted their accused brother. One great 



3o6 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

nobleman was so brutal and stupid as to say, ' After 
all, the fellow was but a player ; and players are 
rogues.' All the newspapers, all the coffee-house 
orators complained that the blood of the poor was shed 
with impunity by the great. Wits remarked that the 
only fair thing about the trial was the show of 
ladies in the galleries. Letters and journals are still 
extant in which men of all shades of opinion, Whigs, 
Tories, Non-jurors, condemn the partiality of the 
tribunal." 

On the one hand, the words of the dying man excul- 
pated Mohun from any share in the actual murder ; on the 
other hand, it is clear from the uncontradicted testimony 
of more than one witness, that he was fully cognizant 
of Hill's intentions, and that he did not hesitate to 
encourage him by his presence through the whole 
affair. According to the Attorney-General, his first 
question, when he surrendered himself, was, "Has 
Mr. Hill escaped?" and, upon being answered in the 
affirmative, he exclaimed, ' ' I am glad of it ! I should 
not care if I were hanged for him," his only regret 
being that Hill had escaped with very little money about 
him. He confessed, moreover, to the watch, that he 
had changed coats with his friend ; the object, of 
course, was to throw out the pursuers as much as 
possible by this slight disguise. 

This is Lord Mohun's portrait as drawn by a not un- 
favourable hand : " Charles, Lord Mohun, is the repre- 
sentative of a very ancient family, but he had the 
misfortune to come to the title young, while the estate 
was in decay ; his quality introduced him into the best 
company, but his wants very often led him into bad ; 
so that he became one of the arrantest rakes in town, 
and, indeed, a scandal to the peerage ; was generally 
a sharer in all riots ; and before he was twenty years 



THE LAST LORD MOHUN 307 

old was tried twice for murder by the House of Peers. 
On his being acquitted at the last trial, he expressed 
his contrition for the scandal he brought upon his 
degree as peer by his behaviour, in very handsome 
terms, and promised to behave himself so, for the 
future, as not to give further scandal ; and he has been 
as good as his word ; for now he applies himself in good 
earnest to the knowledge of the constitution of his 
country, and to serve it ; and having a good deal of 
fine and good sense, turned this way, makes him very 
considerable in the House. He is brave in his person, 
bold in his expressions, and rectifies, as fast as he can, 
the slips of his youth, by acts of honesty, which he 
now glories in more than he was formerly extravagant. 
He was married, when very young, to a niece of my 
Lord Macclesfield, who, dying without issue, left him 
a considerable estate/ which he well improves. The 
Queen continues him colonel of a regiment of foot. 
He is of middle stature, inclining to fat, not thirty 
years old." 

However much he may have intended to amend. Lord 
Mohun was again involved in a murder, that of a Mr. 
Coote, a few years later, in conjunction with the Earl of 
Warwick ; he was, however, pronounced innocent by 
the unanimous suffrage of the Peers. 

After this last affair only was it that he amended his 
ways, and the author of The History of Queen Anne, 
March nth, London, 1713, gives a favourable account 
of him. "After this last misfortune my Lord Mohun 
did wonderfully reclaim ; and what by his reading, what 
by his conversation with the ablest statesmen, so well 
improved his natural parts, that he became a great orna- 
ment to the peerage and a strenuous asserter of the cause 
of Liberty, and the late Revolution : which last, however, 

' The earl died on November sth, 1701. 



3o8 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

could not but raise him many enemies ; and is, I doubt, 
the only reason why his memory is so unfairly, so bar- 
barously treated, 'Tis true, my Lord Mohun, like most 
men in our cold climate, still lov'd a merry glass of wine 
with his friends. But in this he was a happy reverse 
to some men, who owe all their bright parts in the 
management of affairs to the fumes of Burgundy and 
Champaign : for he was exemplarily temperate when he 
had any business of moment to attend. He behaved him- 
self so discretely at the Court of Hanover, whither he 
accompanyed the late Earl of Macclesfield, whose niece 
he had married, that he left an excellent character behind 
him with the most serene Elector, and the Princess 
Sophia, his mother, two allow'd judges of merit ; and 
when his Highness was to be install'd Knight of the 
Garter he appointed the Lord Mohun to be his proxy."^ 

Party feeling strongly coloured the descriptions given 
of the character of Lord Mohun. He was a Whig and 
zealous advocate of the claims of the Elector of Hanover, 
and was consequently obnoxious to the Tories and 
Jacobites. In the Examiner he is represented in the 
worst light ; and is even accused of cowardice ; but 
Bishop Burnet was able to say no more of him than 
this : " I am sorry I cannot say so much good of him 
as I wish ; and I had too much kindness for him, to say 
any evil unnecessarily." 

In 171 1 the attention of the legislature was drawn 
to the subject of duels by Sir Peter King ; and after 
dwelling on the alarming increase of the practice, 
obtained leave to bring in a Bill for the prevention 
and punishment of duelling. It was read a first time on 
May I ith, and was ordered for a second reading in the 
ensuing week. 

About the same time the attention of the Upper 

' History of the Reign of Queen Anne, Vol. XII, pp. 305-6 (1713). 



THE LAST LORD MOHUN 309 

House was also drawn to the subject in a painful 
manner. In a debate in the Lords upon the conduct 
of the Duke of Ormond in refusing to hazard a general 
engagement with the enemy, Earl Pawlet remarked 
that nobody could doubt the courage of the Duke. 
"He was not like a certain general, who led troops to the 
slaughter, to cause great numbers of officers to be 
knocked on the head in a battle, or against stone walls, 
in order to fill his pockets by disposing of their 
commissions." 

That this was levelled at the Duke of Marlborough 
no one doubted, but he remained silent, though evi- 
dently suffering in mind. Soon after the House broke 
up, the Earl Pawlet received a visit from Lord Mohun, 
who told him that the Duke of Marlborough desired 
some explanation of the words he had used, as certain 
expressions employed by his lordship were greatly 
offensive to him. He would accordingly be very glad 
to meet him, and for that purpose desired him "to take 
a little air in the country." 

Earl Pawlet did not affect to misunderstand the hint, 
but asked Lord Mohun in plain terms whether he 
brought a challenge from the Duke. Lord Mohun 
answered that he considered what he had said needed 
no elucidation, and that he himself would accompany 
the Duke of Marlborough as second. 

He then took his leave, and Earl Pawlet returned 
home and confided to his lady that he was going to 
fight a duel with the Duke of Marlborough. The 
Countess, greatly alarmed for her lord's safety, gave 
notice of his intention to the Earl of Dartmouth, who 
immediately, in the Queen's name, sent for the Duke of 
Marlborough and commanded him not to stir abroad. 
He also caused Earl Pawlet's house to be guarded by 
two sentinels ; and having taken these precautions, in- 



3IO CORNISH CHARACTERS 

formed the Queen of the whole affair. Her Majesty 
sent at once for the Duke, expressed her abhorrence of 
the custom of duelling, and required his word of 
honour that he would proceed no further. The Duke 
pledged his word accordingly, and the affair ter- 
minated, much, doubtless, to the disappointment of 
Lord Mohun, who took a delight in these passages of 
arms. 

We come now to the last duel of Lord Mohun, in 
which he lost his life and his title expired. The reader 
will recall the description given of it in Esmond. 

The Duke of Hamilton, a shuffling Jacobite, had 
been in constant correspondence with the Court of 
S. Germain's, and with the numerous agents of the Pre- 
tender kept scattered about in various parts of the Con- 
tinent and in England. Even before Mrs. Masham and 
Harley had undermined the Whig ministry, Hamilton 
had been an acceptable visitor at the Court of 
S. James's ; but since the Tory party had got the 
upper hand, he had been closeted far more frequently 
with the Queen than before ; and now he was appointed 
to represent Queen Anne at the French Court. Burnet 
says: "The Duke of Hamilton being now appointed 
to go to the Court of France gave melancholy specu- 
lation to those who thought him much in the Pre- 
tender's interest ; he was considered, not only in 
Scotland, but here in England, as the head of his 
party." A few days before he left for Versailles, his 
career was cut short. He had been engaged in some 
law-suits with Lord Mohun over the succession to the 
estates of the Earl of Macclesfield, and this, together 
with political animosity, inflamed both these noblemen 
with deadly hatred towards each other. Mohun took 
an occasion that offered of publicly insulting the Duke, 
in the hope of making him the challenger. His Grace, 



THE LAST LORD MOHUN 311 

however, had too much contempt for the known charac- 
ter of the man to enter into an idle dispute with him, 
especially at a time when he was invested with the 
sacred character of ambassador. He relied on his own 
reputation with the world to bear him out in declining 
to notice such an affront, offered at such a time, and 
committed, as the Tories asserted, under the influence 
of drink. 

The circumstances of the insult were these. On Thurs- 
day, November 13th, a party was assembled at the 
chambers of Mr. Orlebar, a master in Chancery, when 
the Duke made some reflections on Mr. Whitworth, 
father of the Queen's late ambassador to the Czar ; 
whereat Lord Mohun roared out that the Duke had 
neither truth nor justice in him. " Indeed, he has just 
as much truth in him as your Grace ! " The Duke of 
Hamilton made no reply ; and both parties remained at 
the table for half an hour after this outbreak ; and at 
parting Hamilton made a low bow to Mohun, who 
returned the civility, so that none of those there present 
suspected any consequence from what had passed 
between the two peers. 

But Lord Mohun had determined to fight his private 
and political adversary, and although he was the 
offender he next day sent a challenge to the Duke by 
the hand of a friend. General Maccartney. In the 
evening of the 14th the Duke, accompanied by Colonel 
John Hamilton, went to meet General Maccartney at 
the Rose Tavern, in one room, whilst in the adjoining 
Lord Mohun awaited Colonel Hamilton. Then and 
there the time and place of the duel were agreed upon. 
On Sunday morning, November 15th, at seven o'clock, 
Lord Mohun with his second, General Maccartney, 
went in a hackney-coach to the lodge of Hyde Park, 
where they alighted, and were soon after met by the 



312 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Duke of Hamilton and his second, Colonel Hamilton. 
They all jumped over a ditch into a place called the 
Nursery. It is said that Lord Mohun did not wish that 
the seconds should bear a part in the engagement, but 
the Duke insisted, saying that " Mr. Maccartney should 
have a share in the dance." But the spirit of party so 
completely seized hold of the subject as to make it 
difficult to ascertain what were the real facts. 

It is said on one side that the Duke was from the 
first very unwilling to fight, and even at the last moment 
would have consented to a reconciliation. According to 
the evidence given by Colonel Hamilton at the inquiry 
on November 25th, early in the morning of the 15th, 
before he was half dressed, the Duke called at his house 
and hurried him into his chariot "so soon that he 
finished the buttoning of his waistcoat there. By the 
time they had got into Pall Mall the Duke observed 
that the Colonel had left his sword behind him ; where- 
upon he stopt his chariot and gave the footman a bunch 
of keys and orders to fetch a mourning sword out of 
such a closet. At the return of the footman they drove 
on to Hyde Park, where the coachman stopt, and the 
Duke ordered him to drive on to Kensington. When 
they came to the lodge they saw a hackney-coach at a 
distance, on which his Grace said, ' There was some 
body he must speak with ' ; but driving up to it and see- 
ing nobody he asked the coachman, * Where the gentle- 
men were whom he had brought?' he answered *A 
little before.' The Duke and the Colonel got out in 
the bottom and walked over the pond's head, where they 
saw the Lord Mohun and General Maccartney before 
them. As soon as the Duke came within hearing he said, 
' He hop'd he was come time enough,' and Maccartney 
answered, ' In very good time, my Lord.' After this 
they all jumped over the ditch into the Nursery, and 



THE LAST LORD MOHUN 313 

the Duke turned to Maccartney and told him, ' Sir, 
you are the cause of this, let the event be what it will.' 
Maccartney said, ' We'll have our share. ' Then the Duke 
answered, 'There is my friend then, he will take his 
share in my dance.' " 

The Duke is said to have looked about him and 
remarked to his second, " How grey and cold London 
looks this morning, and yet the sky is almost cloud- 
less." To which the Colonel replied, " It is through lack 
of London smoke. London is nothing without its 
smoke." 

The combat then commenced between the principals, 
and at a little distance from them between the seconds. 

The combat between the former was carried on with 
fury, and the clash of steel called to the spot the 
keepers of the Park and a few stragglers who were 
abroad there at this early hour — in all about nine or 
ten. None of them interfered ; they looked on as they 
might at a cock-fight. 

In a short time the Duke was wounded in both legs, 
and his sword pierced his antagonist through the 
groin, through the arm, and in sundry other parts 
of the body. If they had thought little enough before 
of attending to self-defence, they now seemed to 
abandon the idea altogether. Each at the same 
moment made a desperate lunge at the other ; and 
the Duke's weapon passed right through his adver- 
sary's body up to the hilt. The latter, according to 
one account, shortening his sword, plunged it into the 
upper part of the Duke's left breast, the blade running 
downwards into his belly. But there is another 
version of the story. 

Meanwhile the seconds had been engaged, and 
Colonel Hamilton deposed: "Maccartney had made 
a full pass at him, which he, parrying down with great 



314 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

force, wounded himself in the instep ; however, he 
took that opportunity to close with and disarm 
Maccartney, which being done, he turn'd his head, 
and seeing my Lord Mohun fall, and the Duke upon 
him, he ran to the Duke's assistance ; and that he 
might with the more ease help him, he flung down 
both swords ; and as he was raising my Lord Duke up, 
he saw Maccartney make a push at his Grace" — this 
was explained to be over his shoulder — and "he 
immediately look'd to see if he had wounded him ; 
but seeing no blood, he took up his sword, expecting 
Maccartney would attack him again ; but he walked 
off. Just as he was gone came up the keepers and 
others, to the number of nine or ten, among the rest 
Ferguson, my Lord Duke's steward, who had brought 
Bassiere's man with him ; who opening his Grace's 
breast, soon discovered a wound on the left side, which 
came in between the left shoulder and pap, and went 
slantingly down through the midriff into his belly. 
This wound is thought impracticable for my Lord 
Mohun to give him." 

Maccartney now took to his heels and fled, and 
tarried not till he was secure in Holland. 

Colonel Hamilton remained on the field, and sur- 
rendered himself to arrest. 

An attempt was made to remove the Duke to the 
Cake House, but he expired on the grass. Lord 
Mohun also died on the spot. 

In The Examiner^ the Tory mouthpiece, the story 
is thus given : ' ' The affront was wholly given by 
Mohun, which the Duke, knowing him to be drunk, 
did not resent. But the bravo Maccartney, who 
depended for his support on the Lord Mohun, finding 
his pupil's reputation very much blasted by those tame 
submissions, which his Lordship, mistaking his man, 



THE LAST LORD MOHUN 315 

had lately paid to Mr. D'Avenant, judg'd there was no 
way to set him right in the coffee houses and the Kit- 
Cat but by a new quarrel, and made choice of the 
Duke, a person of fifty-five, and very much weaken'd 
by frequent attacks of gout. Maccartney was forc'd 
to keep up his patron's courage with wine, till within 
a few hours of their meeting in the field. And the 
mortal wound which the Duke receiv'd, after his 
adversary was run thro' the heart, as it is probably 
conjectured, could not be given by any but Mac- 
cartney. At least, nothing can be charged on him 
which his character is not able to bear. 'Tis known 
enough, that he made an offer to the late King to 
murder a certain person who was under his Majesty's 
displeasure ; but that Prince disdain'd the motion, and 
abhorred the proposer ever after. However it be, the 
general opinion is that some very black circumstances 
will appear in this tragedy, if a strict examination be 
made ; neither is it easy to account for three great 
wounds in the Duke's legs, if he had fair play." 

The sum of ;£^8oo was offered by the Government for 
the apprehension of Maccartney. 

Such would seem to be the facts, but the Colonel's 
statement, when brought before the Council, was some- 
what rambling. In the excitement of the encounter he 
was not in a condition to judge accurately what took 
place. Cunningham, a Whig, says that Hamilton, 
" being challenged to a duel by the Lord Mohun, 
killed his antagonist ; but was himself also killed, as 
was supposed, by General Maccartney, Mohun's 
second," Although the large sum mentioned was 
offered for the apprehension of the General, he was 
safe in the Low Countries. However, some years later 
he returned to England and was tried, but the jury 
gave a verdict of " Manslaughter " against him. 



3i6 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

A prodigious ferment was occasioned by the duel, 
and party recriminations ran high. The stabbing of 
the Duke to the heart rested mainly on the allegation 
of Colonel Hamilton, but at the trial he prevaricated, 
and several persons who had seen the combat at a 
distance directly contradicted some material points of 
his testimony. 

Swift, in a letter to Mrs. Dingley on the day of the 
duel, says : "This morning, at eight, my man brought 
me word that the Duke Hamilton had fought with 
Lord Mohun and killed him, and was brought home 
wounded. I immediately sent him to the Duke's house, 
in S. James's Square ; but the porter could hardly 
answer him for tears, and a great rabble was about the 
house. In short, they fought at seven this morning. 
The dog Mohun was killed on the spot ; but while the 
Duke was over him, Mohun, shortening his sword, 
stabbed him in at the shoulder to the heart. The Duke 
was helped towards the Cake House by the Ring in 
Hyde Park (where they fought), and died on the grass, 
before he could reach the house ; and was brought 
home in his coach by eight, while the poor Duchess 
was asleep. I am told that a footman of Lord Mohun's 
stabbed Duke Hamilton ; and some say, Maccartney 
did so too. Mohun gave the affront, and yet sent the 
challenge. I am infinitely concerned for the poor 
Duke, who was a frank, honest, good-natured man. 
I loved him very well ; and I think he loved me 
better. . . . They have removed the poor Duchess to 
a lodging in the neighbourhood, where I have been 
with her two hours, and am just come away. I never 
saw so melancholy a scene, for indeed all reasons ot 
real grief belong to her ; nor is it possible for any one 
to be a greater loser in all regards. She has moved 
my very soul. The lodging was inconvenient ; and 



THE LAST LORD MOHUN 317 

they would have removed her to another ; but I would 
not suffer it, because it had no room backwards, and 
she must have been tortured with the noise of the 
Grub Street screamers, singing her husband's murder 
in her ears." 

But in his History of the Four Last Years of the 
Queen, written in 1713, Swift says: "The Duke was 
preparing for his journey, when he was challenged to 
a duel by the Lord Mohun, a person of infamous 
character. He killed his adversary on the spot, though 
he himself received a wound ; and, weakened by the 
loss of blood, as he was leaning in the arms of his 
second, was most barbarously stabbed in the breast by 
Lieutenant-General Maccartney, He died a few minutes 
after in the field, and the murderer made his escape." 

It is accordingly very doubtful whether the coup de 
grace was dealt by Lord Mohun or by bis second. 
With Lord Mohun, the barony of Mohun of Okehamp- 
ton became extinct ; but the estate of Gawsworth, in 
Cheshire, which he had inherited from Lord Maccles- 
field, was vested by his will in his widow, and eventu- 
ally passed to her second daughter by her first husband, 
Anne Griffith, wife of the Right Honourable William 
Stanhope, from whom it passed to the Earls of Harring- 
ton. 

Boconnoc and the Devon and Cornish estates were 
sold in 1717 for ;^54,ooo to Thomas Pitt, commonly 
called Governor Pitt. 



THE LAST LORD CAMELFORD 

THOMAS PITT was the son of a tradesman 
at Brentford, and he went to push his for- 
tunes in India as a merchant adventurer. 
There he obtained a diamond, thought to be 
the finest known, and with it returned to England, 
where he offered it for sale to Queen Anne, and ulti- 
mately sold it to the Regent Duke of Orleans, for the 
French nation, for ;£'i 35,000. 

The Regent and his two successors in the govern- 
ment of France set this diamond as an ornament in 
their hats on occasions of state. It was stolen during 
the disturbances of the Revolution, but was recovered, 
and Napoleon had it placed between the teeth of a 
crocodile, forming the handle of his sword. 

With about half the large sum obtained by the sale 
of the gem, Pitt purchased the property of the last 
Lord Mohun in Cornwall, and settled at Boconnoc. 
He also bought burgess tenures, giving the right of 
franchise at Old Sarum, and represented that place in 
Parliament. He had two sons, Robert and Thomas, 
and Robert succeeded his father at Boconnoc. He 
married Harriet Villiers, third sister of John, Earl 
Grandison, and died in May, 1727, leaving two sons, 
Thomas Pitt, and William, who was afterwards created 
Earl of Chatham. Thomas Pitt, his brother, was 
created Earl of Londonderry, in consequence of his 
marrying the heiress of Ridgeway, in which family was 
the earldom. 

318 



THE LAST LORD CAMELFORD 319 

Thomas Pitt, the eldest son of Robert, engaged in 
political intrigue, and supported the party of Frederick, 
Prince of Wales. He married Christiana, sister of 
George, first Lord Lyttleton, by whom he had one son, 
Thomas, who was created Baron Camelford in 1784, 
when his first cousin William Pitt rose to be Prime 
Minister. Thomas Pitt was aged twenty-five when he 
became Baron Camelford, and he died in January, 1793, 
leaving a son, Thomas Pitt, the second and last Lord 
Camelford, and a daughter, married to William 
Wyndham, Lord Grenville. Thomas Pitt, son of the 
first baron, became an object of attention in Cornwall 
almost from his birth. 

On the event of his christening, in 1775, Boconnoc 
was thrown open to the public, with general feasting 
and revelries and wrestling. A silver bowl worth 
fifteen guineas was the prize of the best wrestler, and 
about fifty pounds were distributed among the dis- 
appointed and defeated competitors. 

The education of Thomas Pitt was conducted at 
Boconnoc under a private tutor, but having paid a 
visit to Plymouth at a time when naval preparations 
were in full activity, he acquired a desire to go to sea. 
However, he was sent to Berne to learn French and 
German, and then to the Charter House. As he still 
manifested a strong desire for the sea, he was admitted 
to the Royal Navy as a midshipman, at the age of 
fourteen ; and he sailed in the Guardian frigate, com- 
manded by Captain Riou, laden with stores for the 
colony of convicts at Botany Bay. The vessel became 
a wreck, and the commander gave permission to such 
of the crew as chose to avail themselves of it to take to 
the boats and leave her. But Lord Camelford, together 
with about ninety, resolved on abiding with the vessel, 
with the captain, patching her up and navigating her. 



320 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

After a perilous passage in the vessel to the Cape of 
Good Hope, Lord Camelford, in September, 1790, 
arrived at Harwich in the Prince of Orange packet. 

Undaunted by the privations and hardships he had 
undergone, he solicited an appointment on the voyage 
of discovery conducted by Captain Vancouver. He 
accompanied that officer, in the ship JDiscovery, during 
part of his circumnavigation, but proved so trouble- 
some, headstrong, and disobedient to orders as to put 
Captain Vancouver under the necessity of placing him 
under arrest. 

He accordingly quitted the Discovery in the Indian 
Seas, and entered on board the Resistance, com- 
manded by Sir Edward Pakenham, by whom he was 
appointed lieutenant. 

During his absence at sea his father had died, and 
when he returned to England it was to succeed to the 
title and family estates. In October, 1796, he sent a 
challenge to Captain Vancouver, who replied with 
dignity that he had acted according to his duty, to 
check insubordination and to preserve discipline. He 
was, however, perfectly willing to submit his conduct 
to the judgment of any flag officer in His Majesty's 
Navy, and if the latter considered that he had over- 
stepped the bounds of what was right, then he would 
be prepared to give Lord Camelford the satisfaction 
he desired. But this proposal did not at all meet 
Lord Camelford's views, and he wrote threatening the 
captain with personal chastisement. Shortly after, 
encountering him in Bond Street, he would have 
struck him had not his brother interfered. 

Having attained the rank of master and commander, 
Lord Camelford was nominated to the command of the 
Favourite, a sloop. That vessel and the Perdrix were 
lying in harbour at Antigua on January 13th, 1790, 



THE LAST LORD CAMELFORD 321 

when Captain Fahil, of the Perdrix, was absent on 
shore, and had left the charge of the ship to the first 
lieutenant, Mr. Peterson. 

Lord Camelford then issued an order which Mr. 
Peterson refused to obey, conceiving that his lordship 
was exceeding his authority in giving a command to 
the representative- of a senior officer. 

The two ships were hauled alongside of each other 
in the dockyard to be repaired, and the companies of 
each vessel collected round their respective officers on 
the quay. High words ensued. Then twelve of the 
crew of the Perdrix arrived on the spot, armed. Mr. 
Peterson drew them up in line, and placed himself at 
their head, with his sword brandished in his hand. Lord 
Camelford at once called out his marines, and, rushing 
off, borrowed a pistol from an officer of the dockyard, 
and returning, in a threatening voice, asked Mr. 
Peterson if he still refused obedience. " I do persist," 
replied the lieutenant. "You have no right to issue 
the order." Thereupon Lord Camelford shot him 
through the head, and he expired instantly. Lord 
Camelford at once surrendered himself to Captain 
Watson, of the Beaver, sloop. In this vessel Lord 
Camelford was conveyed to Fort Royal, Martinique, 
where a court-martial assembled on board the In- 
vincible. The court continued to sit from the 20th to 
the 25th January, when they came to the decision 
"that the very extraordinary and manifest dis- 
obedience of Lieutenant Peterson to the lawful com- 
mands of Lord Camelford, the senior officer at English 
Harbour at that time, and the violent measures taken 
by Lieutenant Peterson to resist the same, by arming 
the Perdrix's ship's company, were acts of mutiny 
highly injurious to his Majesty's service ; the Court do 
therefore unanimously adjudge that the said Lord 



322 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Camelford be honourably acquitted, and he is hereby 
unanimously and honourably acquitted accordingly." 

After this his lordship reassumed the command of 
his ship, but for a short while only, for he threw up 
his appointment and quitted the naval profession. His 
personal appearance while in the service was marked 
with eccentricity. His dress consisted of a lieutenant's 
plain coat, without shoulder knots, and the buttons 
green with verdigris. His head was closely shaved, 
and he wore no wig over it, only an enormous gold- 
laced cocked hat. 

Not long after his return to England, a crazy notion 
entered the head of Lord Camelford, that he would 
go to Paris and assassinate some, if not all, of the 
Directory. Accordingly, on the night of Friday, i8th 
January, 1799, he proceeded by coach to Dover, where 
he arrived on the following morning, and put up at 
the City of London Inn. After breakfast he walked on 
the pier, and engaged a boat to convey him to Deal. 
He came to terms with a boatman named Adams, and 
then confided to him that he desired to be conveyed 
not to Deal but to Calais, where he purposed disposing 
of some watches and other trinkets, and finally bar- 
gained with him to be put across for twelve guineas. 
But his lordship's conduct and manner of speech were 
so odd, that Adams deemed it advisable to speak of 
the matter to Mr. Newport, the collector. Newport 
advised that Adams and his brother should keep the 
appointment, which was for six o'clock that evening, 
when he would be there and investigate the affair. 
Accordingly, when Lord Camelford entered the boat, 
he was arrested, and required to go with Newport to 
the Secretary of State's office in London. They found 
on him, when taken, a brace of pistols and a long, two- 
edged dagger. On Saturday, the i8th January, at 



THE LAST LORD CAMELFORD 323 

eleven at night, he was put in a post-chaise, and 
escorted by Newport and the two Adamses to the Duke 
of Portland's office, where he was recognized. A 
Privy Council was at once summoned, and Mr. Pitt 
despatched a messenger to Lord Camelford's brother- 
in-law. Lord Grenville, to come at once to town. His 
lordship was examined along with Newport and the 
two Adamses, and the Council, satisfied that he was 
crazy, discharged him. 

Not long after this, he brought notice upon himself 
in another sort of matter. On the night of the and 
April, 1799, during the representation of the farce The 
Devil to Pay, at Drury Lane Theatre, a riot took place 
in the box-lobby, occasioned by the entrance of some 
gentlemen in a state of intoxication, who began to 
demolish the chandeliers, when Lord Camelford, as 
one of the ringleaders, was taken into custody, charged 
by a Mr. Humphries with having knocked him down 
repeatedly and nearly beaten out one of his eyes. 
For this he was sued at the Court of King's Bench, and 
was condemned to pay £<fXi. 

In town Lord Camelford was incessantly embroiled 
with the watchmen, and was either had up before the 
magistrates, or else obliged to bribe the constables to 
let him off. He was a terror and a nuisance to quiet 
citizens passing through the streets at night. 

In 1 80 1, when the return of peace was celebrated by 
a general illumination, no persuasions of his landlord, 
a grocer in New Bond Street, could induce him to 
have lights placed in the windows of his apartments. 

Consequently the mob assailed the house and 
smashed every pane of glass in his windows. Where- 
upon his lordship sallied forth, armed with a cudgel, 
and fell on the rabble, and was severely mauled by it, 
rolled in the kennel, much beaten, and his clothes 



324 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

torn off his back. As the illuminations were to be 
continued on succeeding nights, he hired a party of 
sailors to defend his house. 

One evening he entered a coffee-house in Conduit 
Street in shabby costume, and sat down to peruse the 
paper. Shortly after a buck of the first water came 
up, threw himself into the box opposite, and shouted 
to the waiter to bring him a pint of Madeira and a 
couple of wax candles. Till these arrived he coolly 
took to himself Lord Camelford's candle, set himself 
to read. 

Lord Camelford shouted to the waiter to fetch him 
a pair of snuffers, and then walking into the fop's box 
extinguished his candle. 

Boiling with rage, the indignant beau roared out, 
"Waiter! waiter! who the deuce is that fellow who 
has insulted me?" 

The waiter, coming up with the pint of Madeira and 
the desired candles, replied, " Lord Camelford, sir." 

" Lord Camelford ! " shouted the dandy, jumped up, 
threw down his money, and bolted without having 
tasted his Madeira. 

For some time Lord Camelford had been acquainted 
with a Mrs. Simmons, who had formerly lived under the 
protection of a Mr. Best, a friend of his lordship. Some 
mutual acquaintance told him that Best had said some- 
thing slighting of him to this woman. This so exasper- 
ated Lord Camelford that on March 6th, 1804, meeting 
Mr. Best in the Prince of Wales's Coffee-house, he 
went up to him and said in threatening tones : " I find, 
sir, that you have spoken of me in most unwarrantable 
terms." Mr. Best replied that he was quite unconscious 
of having done so. Lord Camelford, then speaking 
loud enough for every one present to hear, declared 
that he knew well enough what Best had said to 



THE LAST LORD CAMELFORD 325 

Mrs. Simmons, and that he esteemed him, Best, to be 
" a scoundrel, a liar, and a ruffian." 

Best could do no other than send him a challenge, 
but with it an assurance that his lordship had been 
misinformed, as no such words had ever passed his 
lips. He expected, accordingly, that Lord Camelford 
would acknowledge his mistake, and then all would 
be as before. But Lord Camelford would listen to no 
explanation, and a meeting was appointed to take place 
the following morning. 

Lord Camelford went to his lodgings in Bond Street, 
and there wrote his will, and added to it the following 
declaration: "There are many other matters, which 
at another time I might be inclined to mention, but 
I will say nothing more at present than that in the 
present contest I am fully and entirely the aggressor, 
as well in the spirit as in the letter of the word. Should 
I, therefore, lose my life in a contest of my own seek- 
ing, I most solemnly forbid any of my friends or 
relations, let them be of whatsoever description they 
may, from instituting any vexatious proceedings 
against my antagonist ; and should, notwithstanding 
the above declaration on my part, the laws of the land 
be put in force against him, I desire that this part 
of my will may be made known to the King, in order 
that his royal heart may be moved to extend his mercy 
towards him." 

From this it would appear that Lord Camelford 
was convinced that he had made a mistake, and no 
longer believed that Best had used the expressions 
attributed to him. At the same time he was too proud 
to admit that he had been mistaken, and submit to 
make a public apology. 

His lordship quitted his lodgings between one and 
two on the morning of Wednesday, the 7th March, and 



326 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

slept at a tavern, with a view to avoid the officers of the 
police, should they get wind of the proposed meeting 
and prevent it. 

Agreeably to the appointment made by the seconds, 
Lord Camelford and Mr. Best met early in the morning 
at a coffee-house in Oxford Street, and here again 
Mr. Best made an attempt at a reconciliation, and 
renewed the assurance that he never had uttered the 
words reported to have been said by him. " Camel- 
ford," said he, "we have been friends, and I know the 
unsuspecting generosity of your nature. Upon my 
honour, you have been imposed upon by a strumpet. 
Do not insist on prosecuting a quarrel in which one of 
us must fall." 

To this Lord Camelford replied, " Best, this is child's 
play ! the thing must go on." 

Mr. Best was esteemed the best shot in England, and 
his lordship dreaded, should he retract the offensive 
words used by himself at the coffee-house, that 
malicious folk might say he did it out of fear. 
Accordingly his lordship and Mr. Best, on horseback, 
took the road to Kensington, followed by a post-chaise, 
in which were the two seconds. On their arrival at the 
"Horse and Groom," about a quarter to eight, the 
parties dismounted, and proceeded along the path 
leading to the fields behind Holland House. The 
seconds measured the ground, and they took their 
station at the distance of thirty paces. Lord Camelford 
fired first, but missed his aim. A space of some 
seconds intervened, and then Best fired ; whereupon 
Lord Camelford fell. 

The seconds, together with Mr. Best, at once ran to 
his assistance, when he is said to have grasped the 
hand of his antagonist, and to have said, " Best, I am a 
dead man ; you have killed me, but I freely forgive you." 



THE LAST LORD CAMELFORD 327 

The report of the pistols had attracted attention, and 
several persons were seen running up, whereupon Best 
and his second got into the post-chaise and drove off at 
a gallop. 

One of Lord Holland's gardeners now approached, 
and Lord Camelford's second ran to summon a 
surgeon, Mr. Thompson, of Kensington, and bring 
him to the spot. 

Meanwhile the gardener hallooed to his fellows to 
stop the post-chaise ; but the dying man interposed, 
saying " that he did not wish them to be arrested ; he 
was himself the aggressor, and he forgave the gentle- 
man as he trusted that God would forgive him." 

Meanwhile a sedan-chair was procured, and his lord- 
ship was conveyed to Little Holland House, the 
residence of a Mr. Ottey, and a messenger was de- 
spatched to the Rev. W. Cockburne, Lord Camelford's 
cousin, to inform him as to what had taken place. 
That gentleman at once communicated with the police, 
and then hurried to his noble relative. By this time 
others had arrived, Mr. Knight, the domestic surgeon 
of his lordship, and his most intimate friend, Captain 
Barrie. The wound was examined, and was pro- 
nounced to be mortal. 

Lord Camelford continued in agonies of pain during 
the whole day, when laudanum was administered, and 
he was able to obtain some sleep during the night, so 
that in the morning he felt easier. 

During the second day his spirits revived, and he 
conversed with those about his bed. The surgeons, 
however, could not give the smallest hope of recovery. 
To the Rev. W. Cockburne, who remained with him till 
he expired, his lordship expressed his confidence in the 
mercy of God ; and he said that he received much 
comfort from the reflection that he felt no ill-will against 



328 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

any man. In the moments of his greatest pain he cried 
out that he trusted the sufferings he endured might be 
accepted as some expiation for the crimes of his life. 

He lingered, free from acute pain, from Thursday 
till Saturday evening, about half-past eight, when 
mortification set in and he breathed his last. 

On the evening of his decease an inquest was held 
on the body, and a verdict of wilful murder returned 
against "some person or persons unknown." 

Thereupon a bill of indictment was preferred against 
Mr. Best and his second, but this was ignored by the 
grand jury. 

As Thomas, the second Baron Camelford, died with- 
out issue, Boconnoc passed to his sister. Lady Gren- 
ville. 

A life of Lord Camelford, with portrait, was pub- 
lished in London (Mace, New Russell Court, Strand), 
1804. 

The Rev. W. Cockburne also wrote A7i Authentic 
Account of the late Unfortunate Death of Lord Camel- 
ford, London (J. Hachard), 1804. As in this he anim- 
adverted on the negligence of the magistrates in not 
preventing the duel, Mr. Cockburne was answered by 
one of them, Philip New, in A Letter to the Rev. Wm. 
Cockburne, London (J. Ginger, Piccadilly), 1804. 



WILLIAM NOYE 

CORNWALL has no great cause to boast of 
William Noye as her son. He was un- 
doubtedly a shrewd, subtle, and learned 
lawyer ; but he was wholly without principle 
and consistency. 

He was the son of Edward Noye, of Carnanton, in 
Mawgan parish, and grandson of William Noy, or 
Noye, of Pendrea, in Buryan. He was born at this 
latter place, it is asserted, in 1577. In 1593 he entered 
Exeter College, Oxford, and thence removed to Lin- 
coln's Inn to study common law. He represented 
Grampound in Parliament 1603-14, Fowey 1623-5, 
S. Ives 1625-7, Helston 1627-31. In Parliament he 
proved himself an able and determined opponent to the 
encroachment of the Royal prerogative. Hals says : 
" In the beginning of the reyne of King Charles I he 
was specially famous for beinge one of the boldest and 
stoutest champions of the subjects' liberty in Parliament 
that the western parts of England afforded ; which 
beinge observed by the Court party, Kinge Charles 
was advised by his Cabinet Councill that it wold be a 
prudent course to divert the force and power of Noye's 
skill, logick, and rhetorique another waye, by givinge 
him som Court preferment. Whereupon Kinge 
Charles made him his Attorney-General, 1631, by 
which expedient he was soon metamorphized from an 
asserter of the subjects' liberty and property to a most 
zealous and violent promoter of the despotick and arbi- 

329 



330 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

trary prerogative or monarchy of his Prince ; soe that 
like the image of Janus at Rome, he looked forward 
and backward, and by means thereof greatly enriched 
himself. — Amongst other things, he is reflected upon by 
our chronologers for beinge the principal contriver of 
the ship-money tax, layd by Kinge Charles upon his 
subjects for settinge forth a navye, or fleet of shipps at 
sea, without the consent of Lords or Commons in 
Parliament, which moneys were raysed by writt of the 
sheriffs of all countys and commissioners, and for a 
long tyme brought into the exchequer twenty thousand 
pound per mensem, to the greate distast of the Parlia- 
ment, the layety, and clergye, who declard against it as 
an unlawfull tax." 

Noye's appointment as Attorney-General was on 
October 27th, 1631. He was not the only one who was 
a turncoat. Sir Thomas Wentworth, afterwards 
created Earl of Strafford, Sir Dudley Digges, and 
Littleton also apostatized. Wentworth, the most re- 
nowned of the set, after being one of the sturdiest of the 
reformers and boldest declaimers in the House of 
Commons — after suffering imprisonment for refusing 
to contribute to the forced loan — this eminent person, a 
gentleman of Yorkshire, who boasted his descent, by 
bastardy, from the royal line of the Plantagenets, out of 
a very ignoble rivalry and an ambition for rank and 
title (even his friends could discover no purer motives), 
sold himself body and soul to the Court. Sir Dudley 
Digges, though a spirited debater and a man of talent, 
had been known for some time to be without principle, 
and, upon being offered the post of Master of the Rolls, 
he closed at once with the bargain and turned round 
upon his former friends. 

Noye and Littleton were both distinguished lawyers. 
Noye's Treatise of the Principall Grounds and Maximes 




S^-WJUMM MrMtturneyCcnfraH 



ii 



SIR WILLIAM NOYE, ATTORNEY GENERAL TO KING CHARLES THE EIRST 



WILLIAM NOYE 331 

of the Laws of this Kingdom has gone through numerous 
editions down to 1870. His Compleat Lawyer has 
also been republished frequently. Noye as Attorney- 
General, and Littleton as Solicitor-General, now used 
their wits and their knowledge to explain and stretch 
the prerogative, and they did this apparently without a 
blush at the recollection of their previous conduct 
when they had combated for the rights of Parliament 
and the liberties of the people. 

Among Howell's Familiar Letters is one to Sir 
Arthur Ingram at York. "Our greatest news here 
now is, that we have a new Attorney-General, which is 
news indeed, considering the humour of the man, how 
he hath been always ready to entertain any cause 
whereby he might clash with the Prerogative : but now 
Judg Richardson told him, his head full of Proclama- 
tions and Decrees, how to bring money into the 
Exchequer. He hath lately found out amongst the old 
records of the Tower some precedents for raising a tax 
called Ship-Money in all the Port -Towns when the 
kingdom is in danger. Whether we are in danger or 
no, at present 'twere presumption in me to judg." 

That England needed a fleet to protect her could 
not be disputed. Howell admits as much. "One with 
half an eye may see we cannot be secure while such 
large fleets of men-of-war, both Spanish, French, 
Dutch, and Dunkirkers, some of them laden with ammu- 
nition, men, arms, and armies, do daily sail on our 
seas and confront the King's chambers (guns), while 
we have only three or four ships abroad to guard our 
coast and kingdom, and to preserve the fairest flower of 
the crown, the dominion of the Narrow Sea, which I 
hear the French Cardinal begins to question, and the 
Hollander lately would not vail to one of His Majesties 
ships that brought over the Duke of Lenox and my 



332 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Lord Weston from Bullen (Boulogne) ; and indeed we 
are jeer'd abroad that we send no more ships to guard 
our seas."^ 

Dunkirk was peculiarly obnoxious, as it was a nest of 
pirates that fell on our small trading vessels, and even 
Algerines came with impunity to our coasts and carried 
off captives as slaves in Africa. The Dutch, taking 
advantage of the domestic broils in England, had greatly 
advanced their commerce, and were prepared to dispute 
with England the command of the Channel. They 
excluded English vessels from the northern fisheries, 
and went so far as to claim and to exercise the right 
of fishing along the English coasts. The Navy of 
France, moreover, was also rapidly augmented, under 
the fostering care of Richelieu. 

Hitherto the ports on the coast had contributed 
towards the defence of the land and the protection of 
our shipping, but the inland towns had been exempted. 
This was not reasonable, and Charles resolved on 
imposing a general tax to provide England with a fleet. 
He had recourse to Noye instead of placing the matter 
before Parliament. 

Noye, says Clarendon, "was wrought upon by 
degrees by the great persons that steered the public 
affairs to be an instrument in all their designs, turning 
his learning and industry to the discovery of sources of 
revenue, and to the justifying them when found — 
thinking that he could not give a clearer testimony that 
his knowledge of the law was greater than all other 
men's, than by making that law which all other men 
believed to be not so. So he moulded, framed, and pur- 
sued the odious and crying project of soap, and with his 
own hand drew and prepared the writ for ship-money, 
both which will be lasting monuments of his fame." 

' Familiar Letters, ed. 1678, p. 233. 



WILLIAM NOYE 333 

About the soap monopoly presently. 

The first writ was issued by the Lords of the Council 
"for the assessing and levying of the ship-money 
against this next spring," on the 20th October, 1634. 
It was signed by the King, and was addressed to the 
mayor, commonalty and citizens of London, and to the 
sheriffs and good men in the said city and in the liberties 
thereof. They were commanded by the ist March to 
provide one ship of war of 900 tons with 350 men at 
the least, one other ship of war of 800 tons and 260 
men at the least, four other ships of war of 500 tons 
with 200 men in each, and another ship of war of 300 
tons with 150 men. They were further ordered to sup- 
ply those ships with guns, powder, and all necessary 
arms, with double tackling, provisions, and stores ; as 
also to defray at their charges the men's wages for 
twenty-six weeks. The Common Council remonstrated, 
declaring that by their ancient liberties they ought to 
be free from any such burden ; but the Privy Council 
rejected the remonstrance, and compelled submission. 

At the beginning of the following year, 1635, the 
writs, after having been served along the sea-board, 
were sent to the inland counties, but from them money 
was asked in lieu of ships at the rate of ;^3300 for 
every ship, and the local magistrates were empowered 
to assess all the inhabitants for a contribution. 

In spite of the resistance offered to the exaction of 
this tax in 1635 and the following year a fleet was 
raised, the Dutch fishing vessels were driven from the 
coast, and a number of English slaves were rescued 
from Moorish pirates. 

Howell wrote to Mr. Philip Warwick in Paris : ^ 

^ Familiar Letters, p. 239. It is wrongly dated, June, 1634, in place 
of 1636. The dates to the letters were in many cases arbitrarily assigned 
by the publisher. 



334 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

* ' The greatest news we have here is that we have a 
gallant Fleet Royal ready to set to sea for the security 
of our Coasts and Commerce, and for the sovereignty of 
our seas. Hans (the Hanseatic League) said the King 
of England was asleep all the while, but now he is 
awake. Nor, do I hear, doth your French Cardinal 
tamper any longer with our King's title and right to 
the dominion of the Narrow Seas. These are brave 
fruits of the Ship-Money." 

The King was still in great straits for money, and 
he turned for help to Noye. The Parliament had in- 
sisted on the suppression of monopolies, but Charles 
revived them by Noye's advice ; and for the sum of 
^10,000 which they paid for their patent, and for a 
duty of ;^8 upon every ton of soap they should make, 
he granted to a company a charter according to it the 
exclusive privilege to make and to sell soap. The 
patent had a proviso in it permitting every soap-boiler 
then exercising his trade in England to become a mem- 
ber of the chartered company ; and that precious turn- 
coat, Noye, who devised the project, considered that in 
this way he had evaded the letter of the law, as the 
Act of Parliament forbidding monopolies had been 
directed against individuals and against some two or 
three monopolists favoured by the Court. These in- 
corporated soap-boilers, as part of their bargains, 
received powers to appoint searchers ; and they exer- 
cised a sort of inquisition over the trade. Such dealers 
as resisted their interference, or tried to make soap on 
their own account, were handed over to the tender 
mercies of the Star Chamber. 

This precedent was followed by the creation of a 
similar company of starch-makers. 

The King and Laud, who had been promised the 
primacy on the death of Archbishop Abbot, were em- 



WILLIAM NOYE 335 

barked together on an evil course. Laud believed in 
the Divine Right of Kings, and he was a man totally 
devoid of suavity of manner and of breadth of mind. 
He would compel all men to think as he thought, and 
act as he chose. That wheat and tares should grow 
together till the harvest was a doctrine of the Gospel 
he could not comprehend, and his energies and power 
were directed towards the forcible uprooting of the 
tares in the field of the Church, and the tares were the 
heterodox Puritans. Between him and the King they 
would allow no liberty to men either in their bodies 
and goods, or in their souls and consciences. That 
there should be crabbed and crooked sticks Laud would 
not allow ; all must be clean and straight as willow 
wands. To the civil despotism alone as exercised by 
Charles, the English people might possibly have sub- 
mitted for some time longer, for the ship-money had 
produced the desired effect ; but the scourge of Laud 
lashed them to fury. And Noye was the scourge Laud 
employed in the Star Chamber. Hammon Le Strange, 
in his Life of King Charles I, says that Noye became 
so servilely addicted to the King's prerogative, by 
ferreting out old penal statutes and devising new ex- 
actions, that he was the most pestilential vexation of the 
subject that the age produced. 

When William Prynne, a barrister of Lincoln's Inn, 
was brought (1634) before the Star Chamber to answer 
for his book Histrio-Mastix, or the Players' Scourge, 
it was Noye who filed information against him. Prynne 
attacked all plays, masques, and dances. The offence 
charged against him was this: " Although he knew that 
His Majesty's royal Queen, the Lords of the Council, 
etc. were in festivals oftentimes present spectators of 
some masques and dances, and many recreations that 
were tolerable and in themselves sinless, and so de- 



336 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

clared to be by a book printed in the time of His 
Majesty's royal father ; yet Mr. Prynne, in his book, 
hath railed not only against stage-plays, comedies, 
dancings, and all other exercises of the people, and 
against all such as frequent or behold them ; but 
further, in particular, against hunting, public festivals, 
Christmas-keeping, bond-fires, and May-poles ; nay, 
even against the dressing up of houses with green 
ivy," He was further accused of directly casting 
aspersions upon the Queen, and of stirring up the 
people to discontent against the King, whom he had 
spoken of in "terms unfit for so sacred a person." 

The whole tenor of the book, according to Noye, 
was not less against the Church of England than 
against these amusements, and their Sacred Majesties 
for countenancing them. "The music in the Church," 
said the Attorney-General, "the charitable terms he 
giveth it is, not to be a noise of men, but rather a 
bleating of bruit beasts ; choristers bellow the tenor as 
it were oxen, bark a counter-point as a kennel of dogs, 
roar out a treble like a sort of bulls, grunt out a bass 
as it were a number of hogs . . . also his general cen- 
sure of all the bishops and of all the clergy ; they scorn 
to feed the poor — these silk and satin divines. Very 
charitable terms upon those of the Church. Christmas, 
as it is kept, is a devil's Christmas — nay, he doth bestow 
a great number of pages to make men affect the name 
of Puritan, as though Christ were a Puritan, and so he 
saith in his Index." 

The fact was Prynne was a narrow-minded, can- 
tankerous fanatic, whose only idea of religion was of 
an acrid nature, and who looked upon all entertain- 
ments as wicked. He complained that forty thousand 
playbooks had been sold in London, and that there 
was no keen demand for printed sermons ; that Ben 



WILLIAM NOYE 337 

Jonson's plays and poems had been published on better 
paper than Bibles. 

Instead of treating Prynne, as a religious maniac, 
with good-humoured contempt, he was sentenced by 
the Star Chamber to pay ;£'io,ooo, be branded on the 
forehead, have his nostril slit, and his ears cropped. 
This infamous sentence was executed, and then Prynne 
was sent to the Fleet, where he was to endure im- 
prisonment till he retracted and apologized. So far 
from apologizing, he sent from the Fleet to Laud a 
stinging letter about the Star Chamber sentences, 
which letter Laud showed to the King, and then, by 
the King's command, showed it to Noye. Noye had 
Prynne forthwith brought to his chamber, exhibited the 
letter, and asked him whether he acknowledged his 
handwriting. Prynne replied that he could not tell 
unless he were allowed a closa inspection of it. The 
letter being then placed in his hands, and Mr. Attorney 
Noye having retired to his closet for a pressing neces- 
sity, Prynne, when his back was turned, tore it to 
shreds and threw the scraps out of the window. Noye 
then brought Prynne again before the Star Chamber, 
but Laud now interfered, and urged that the matter of 
the insulting letter might not be pressed against him. 

In 1636, as soon as he could get hold of ink and 
paper, this incorrigible pamphleteer published fresh 
attacks on the bishops, among others News from 
Ipswich, under the name of Matthew White. He 
was again dragged before the Star Chamber, and was 
fined £'^000 and ordered to lose the rest of his ears, 
to be branded on both cheeks with " S. L." for " Sedi- 
tious Libeller." Noye, however, had no part in this 
final persecution ; nor did he live to see the results to 
the King of the course he had recommended and which 
had been pursued. 



338 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

His health began to fail, and he went to Tunbridge 
Wells to drink the waters. They, however, did him no 
good, and he died on the gth August, 1635, ^t the 
Wells, and was buried in New Brentford Church on 
the ensuing nth August. 

Howell, in a letter to Viscount Savage dated 1st 
October, 1635, wrote: "The old steward of your 
Courts, Master Attorney-General Noy, is lately dead, 
nor could Tunbridge Waters do him aiiy good. 
Though he had good matter in his brain, he had, it 
seems, ill materials in his body, for his heart was 
shrivelled like a leather penny-purse when he was 
dissected, nor were his lungs found. 

"Being such a Clerk in the Law, all the world 
wonders he left such an odd will, which is short and 
in Latin. The substance of it is, that he having be- 
queathed a few Legacies, and left his second son one 
hundred marks a year, and nine hundred pounds in 
money, enough to bring him up in his Father's Pro- 
fession, he concludes : Reliqua meorum omnia primo- 
genito meo Edwardo, dissipanda nee melius unquam 
{speravi) lego : I leave the rest of my goods to my first- 
born Edward (mistake for Humphry), to be consum'd 
or scattered (for I never hoped better). A strange, and 
scarce a Christian Will, in my opinion, for it argues 
uncharitableness. Nor doth the world wonder lesse, 
that he should leave no Legacy to some of your Lord- 
ship's children, considering what deep obligations lie 
had to your Lordship ; for I am confident he had 
never bin Attorney-General else." 

Hals tells this story of Noye : "The Attorney-General 
on a day havinge King Charles I and the principal 
officers and nobilitie of his court, at a dinner at his 
house in London, at which tyme the arch poet Ben 
Jonson, and others being at an inne, on the other side 



WILLIAM NOYE 339 

the street ; and wantinge both meate and money for 
their subsistance, at that exigent resolved to trye an 
expedient, to gett his dinner from the Attorney- 
General's table, in order to which, by the landlord of 
the inne aforesaid, he sent a white timber plate or 
trencher to him, when the King was sate downe to 
table, whereon was inscribed these words : — 

When the world was drown'd 
Nor deer was found, 

Because there was noe park ; 
And here I sitt, 
Without e're a bitt, 

Cause Noah hath all in his Arke. 

Which plate beinge presented by the Attorney- 
Generall to the Kinge, produced this effect ; that Jon- 
son had a good dish of venison sent him back by the 
bearer to his great content and satisfaction, on which 
aforesaid plate, by the King's direction, Jonson's 
rhymes were thus inverted or contradicted : — 

When the world was drown'd 
There deer was found, 

Although there was noe park ; 
I send thee a bitt, 
To quicken thy witt, 

Which com' from Noya's Ark. 

William Noye anagram, I Moyle in law. He was 
the blowcoal incendiary or stirrer up of the occasion of 
the civill wars between Kinge Charles and his Parlia- 
ment, by assertinge and setting up the King's prero- 
gative to the highest pitch, as King James I had done 
before, beyond the laws of the land as aforesaid. And 
as counsill for the Kinge he prosecuted for Kinge 
Charles I the imprisoned members of the House of 
Commons, 1628, viz. Sir John Ellyot, Mr. Coryton and 
others. " 

Noye died in 1638. Hals adds : " He had the 



340 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

principal hand in the most oppressive expedients for 
raising money for the King, and seems not to have 
had the least notion of public spirit. He was, in a 
word, a man of an enlarged head and a contracted 
heart." 

His portrait, formerly possessed by Davies Gilbert, ^ 
has been engraved in Polwhele's Biographical Sketches 
in Cornwall. The eldest son, Edward, was killed in a 
duel by Captain Byron in France in 1636, and then 
Carnanton passed to his brother Humphrey, a colonel 
in King Charles' army, and Commissioner of the Peace 
for the County of Cornwall. He married Hester, 
daughter of Henry Sandys, and sister and coheiress 
of George Lord Sandys of the Vine. He was as 
worthless a fellow as his elder brother Edward, and 
William Noye, the father, foresaw the ruin of the 
family estates to whichever of his sons they fell ; 
for, in default of male issue, they were to go to 
Humphrey Noye, not Edward as Howell states. 
Humphrey by his bad conduct, riot and excess, 
lost all the estate left him by his father except 
Carnanton, and for many years lived on the charity of 
his friends and on dishonest tricks ; for being a magis- 
trate and generally chairman at the sessions, he took 
bribes to pervert judgment ; acquitting felons, etc., till 
at last he was detected and struck out of the Commis- 
sion. Hals says : " After which growinge scandalous 
for these and other misdemeanours, he was slighted by 
his former friends, and put to great hardships to get a 
subsistance necessary for the life of man (his creditors 
beinge upon mortgages in possession of his whole 
estate). However, it happened some time before his 
death, that upon puttinge his hand and seale with his 
creditors for conveying the manor of Amell and Trylly 

' Now by Carew Davies Gilbert, Esq. , of Trelisseck. 



WILLIAM NOYE 341 

in Penwith to his son-in-lawe, Mr. Davies, on marrying 
with his daughter Katherine, he had by them pay'd him 
in cash ;£^ioo in consideration thereof. Soon after the 
receipt of which money he sicken'd and dyed at Thomas 
Wills' house in S. Colomb Towne, and left ;^8o in 
cash, about the yeare 1683 ; which was more money 
than he was possest of at one tyme for about twenty 
yeares before ; and the last words that he was heard to 
speake, as his soule passed out of this life, was : ' Lord, 
where am I goinge now ? ' " 

Humphrey Noye had two sons, but both predeceased 
him and died without issue. His daughter Hester 
married Henry Davies, of Buryan, and had by him a 
son, William, who left issue two daughters only. 

Catherine, the second daughter, married in 1679 
William Davies, of Bosworgy, who by her left issue 
John Davies of Ednovean, whose daughter Catherine 
married the Rev. Edward Giddy, whose son Davies 
Giddy assumed the name and arms of Gilbert. 

The third daughter, Bridgeman, married John 
Willyams, of Roxworthy, but died childless. After her 
death Willyams married Dorothy, daughter of Peter 
Daye, gent., and by her had issue, and the family of 
Willyams to this day possesses Carnanton. 

The arms of Noye are azure, three crosses crosslets, 
in bend, argent. 



WILLIAM LEMON 

WILLIAM LEMON was the son of a Wil- 
liam Lemon, of Germoe, in humble cir- 
cumstances ; he was baptized at Breage, 
15th November, 1696 ; his mother's 
maiden name was Rodda. As a lad he obtained a 
smattering of knowledge at a village school, sufficient 
to enable him to enter an office as clerk to a Mr. 
Coster. The story was told of him that as a boy he 
had formed one link of a living chain, which, con- 
nected only by the grasp of their hands, extended 
itself into a tremendous surf, and rescued several 
persons who had been shipwrecked. 

Whilst still young he became manager of a tin- 
smelting house at Chiandower, near Penzance, and 
speedily acquired a great knowledge of mining in 
Cornwall. In 1724 he married Isabella Vibert, of 
Tolver-in-Gulval, and with her received a sufficient 
fortune^ to enable him to indulge in speculations in 
mines, and these turned out so happily that he em- 
barked still further in mining ventures. He was the 
first who conceived the project of working the mines 
upon a grand scale, and not of running them by small 
bands of adventurers. A new era in mining opened 
with the introduction of the steam-pump, and the first, 
invented by Newcomen, of Dartmouth, was used in the 
Great Work at Breage. William Lemon associated with 

' It came to her by bequest of her godmother, Mrs. Elizabeth Noles, 
who had acquired a fortune by business at Chiandower. 

342 







r — t^ 



Grflnd- father 



WEiliaim Legion Esqf 



WILLIAM LEMON 343 

himself George Blewett, of Marazion, and a Mr. 
Dewin, and these three commenced working a mine on 
a farm called Truvel, in Ludgvan, the property of 
Lord Godolphin, and named Wheal Fortune, where 
the second steam-engine was employed. 

Mr. Lemon is said to have realized ;^i 0,000 out of 
Wheal Fortune, and this enabled him to extend his 
operations. He removed to Truro, and commenced 
working the great Gwennap Mines on a scale unprece- 
dented in Cornwall. Carnan Adit was either actually 
commenced, or at least was effectively prosecuted, by 
Mr. Lemon ; and as his means increased he soon 
became the principal merchant and tin-smelter in 
Cornwall. 

But he was keenly alive to his deficient education. 
He was shrewd, could calculate, but had no knowledge 
of English literature, and his spelling was remarkable. 
However, he set vigorously to work to correct his 
defects, and late in life placed himself under the tuition 
of Mr. Conon, master of the Truro Grammar School, 
and even acquired a certain — not, certainly, very exten- 
sive — knowledge of Latin. 

Mr. Lemon had a favourite tame Cornish chough 
that would always obey his call. If he were walking on 
Truro Green, or through the streets, the chough would 
fly to him instantly at his whistle, though it had been 
associating with other birds or perched on a house-top. 

It so happened that John Thomas, afterwards the 
Warden of the Stannaries, but then a boy at Conon's 
school, taking his gun, contrary to the rules of the 
school, and going out shooting, unluckily killed the 
chough. This produced a great outcry, and when he 
was told that this was Mr. Lemon's favourite bird, 
he strongly suspected that the least punishment he 
would receive would be a flogging from his school- 



344 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

master and a hiding as well from Mr. Lemon. But 
Thomas took courage, went to Mr. Lemon's house, 
knocked at the door, was admitted to Mr. Lemon, and 
trembling and in tears confessed what he had done. 
Mr. Lemon paused a moment, and then said that he 
was sorry for the poor bird, but freely forgave the little 
delinquent on account of his candour in acknowledging 
his fault, and more than that, he promised to keep it a 
secret, and if it should reach Conon's ears, would inter- 
cede for him. 

In 1742 he was Sheriff for the county. He became 
one of the Truro magistrates, and might, had he cared 
for it, have been elected as a member for one or other of 
the Cornish boroughs. 

He was author of a lucid argument written to Sir 
Robert Walpole to obtain the withdrawal of a tax 
levied on coals, and which acted prejudicially on the 
Cornish mines. The presentation of this memorial is 
thought to have been instrumental in obtaining for 
him, from Frederick, Prince of Wales, a grant of all 
minerals found in Cornwall, with the exception of tin ; 
and the Prince likewise sent him a present of silver 
plate. 

He bought Carclew in 1749, and died at Truro, 
25th March, 1760, in the sixty-third year of his life. 

He and his wife had one son only, William Lemon, 
junior, who died some years before his father, leaving 
two sons and a daughter. The elder. Sir William 
Lemon, Bart.,^ represented the county of Cornwall in 
Parliament during fifty years. 

As an instance of the respect paid to the genius, and 
above all the wealth of Mr. Lemon, the people of Truro 
are said to have drawn back from their doors and win- 
dows as he passed through the street, and the Rev. 

' Created Baronet 3rd May, 1774. 



WILLIAM LEMON 345 

Samuel Walker, when exhorting children at cate- 
chizing to be circumspect in the presence of Almighty 
God, said: "Only think, dear children, how care- 
ful you would be if Mr. Lemon were looking upon 
you." 

Sir William's eldest son. Major William Lemon, 
shot himself at Princes Street, Hanover Square, 
London, early in 1799, when a young man of only 
twenty-five. 

The baronetcy is now extinct, and Carclew is the 
residence and property of Captain W. Tremayne. 



SAMUEL DREW 

THE life of Samuel Drew was written by his 
eldest son, and published by Longman, 
Rees, and Co. in 1834. I* 'S a volume of 
534 pages, and probably few would be dis- 
posed to wade through it. Of his early days by far 
the brighter account is that furnished by himself to 
Mr. R. Polwhele ; but the son supplies some anecdotes 
that may be quoted. 

" I was born on the 3rd March, 1765, in an obscure 
cottage in the parish of S. Austell, about a mile and 
a half distant from the town. My father was a 
common labourer, and had through mere dint of 
manual labour to provide for himself, a wife, and four 
children, of whom I was the second. One child died in 
infancy, and at the age of nine years ^ 1 had the mis- 
fortune to lose my mother." Rather more than a year 
before the death of Mrs. Drew, Samuel was set to work 
at a neighbouring stamping-mill as a buddle-bqy, and 
for his services his father received three-halfpence a 
day, but this was raised later to twopence, the largest 
sum Samuel realized in that employment, though he 
continued to work at it for more than two years. 

Not long after the death of his wife, Samuel's father 
took a woman named Bate into the house, to act as 
housekeeper ; and in the second year of his widowhood 
he married her, to the disgust of his children. When 

' Samuel Drew says at the age of five, but this was a slip of his pen 
or a mistake of the printer ; his mother died in 1774. 

346 




J. Moore, pinx. 



SAMUEL DREW 



ff. Hicks, sailp. 



SAMUEL DREW 347 

she was entertaining her friends and gossips at tea after 
the wedding, Samuel discharged a syringeful of water 
over the party. This was more than she could put up 
with, and Samuel had to be sent away and apprenticed 
to a shoemaker named Baker, in the parish of S. Blazey. 
He says himself: "Myfather, being exceedingly poor, 
felt much embarrassment in finding a premium to give 
to my master, with whom, at the age of ten years and a 
half, I was bound an apprentice for nine years, which 
length of time, together with five pounds five shillings, 
was considered by my master as a suitable bargain. It 
was at this tender age that I bid adieu to my father's 
habitation, and as a place of residence have never 
entered it since. The little knowledge of writing 
which I had acquired from my father was almost 
entirely lost during my apprenticeship ; I had, how- 
ever, an opportunity at intervals of perusing Goadby's 
Weekly Entertainer, and used to puzzle my little head 
about riddles and enigmas, and felt much pleasure in 
perusing the anecdotes which were occasionally inter- 
spersed through the pages." 

Whilst at the shoemaker's a curious incident occurred : 
"There were several of us, boys and men, out about 
twelve o'clock on a bright moonlight night. I think 
we were poaching. The party were in a field adjoining 
the road leading from my master's to S. Austell, and I 
was stationed outside the hedge to watch and give the 
alarm if any intruder should appear. While thus occu- 
pied I heard what appeared to be the sound of a horse 
approaching from the town, and I gave a signal. My 
companions paused and came to the hedge where I was, 
to see the passenger. They looked through the bushes, 
and I drew myself close to the hedge, that I might not 
be observed. The sound increased, and the supposed 
horseman seemed drawing near. The clatter of the 



348 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

hoofs became more and more distinct. We all looked 
to see who and what it was, and I was seized with a 
strange, indefinable feeling of dread ; when, instead of 
a horse, there appeared coming towards us, at an easy 
pace, but with the same sound which first caught 
my ear, a creature about the height of a large dog. 
It went close by me, and as it passed, it turned upon 
me and my companions huge fiery eyes that struck 
terror to all our hearts. The road where I stood 
branched off in two directions, in one of which there 
was a gate across. Towards the gate it moved, and, 
without any apparent obstruction, went on at its regular 
trot, which we heard several minutes after it had dis- 
appeared. Whatever it was, it put an end to our 
occupation, and we made the best of our way home. 

"I have often endeavoured in later years, but with- 
out success, to account, on natural principles, for what 
I then heard and saw. As to the facts, I am sure there 
was no deception. It was a night of unusual bright- 
ness,- occasioned by a cloudless full moon. The crea- 
ture was unlike any animal I had then seen, but from 
my present recollections it had much the appearance of 
a bear, with a dark shaggy coat. Had it not been 
for the unearthly lustre of its eyes, and its passing 
through the gate as it did, there would be no reason to 
suppose it anything more than an animal perhaps 
escaped from some menagerie. That it did pass through 
the gate without pause or hesitation I am perfectly 
clear. Indeed, we all saw it, and saw that the gate 
was shut, from which we were not distant more than 
twenty or thirty yards. The bars were too close to 
admit the passage of an animal of half its apparent 
bulk ; yet this creature went through without effort or 
variation of its pace." 

He was roughly and cruelly treated by his master. 



SAMUEL DREW 349 

who would beat him with the last, and at one time for a 
while maimed him. At length he felt that he could 
endure the bondage no more, and with sixteen-pence 
ha'penny in his pocket he ran away with the intention 
of going to Plymouth and seeking a berth on board a 
man-of-war. 

At this time Sam's father was in somewhat better 
circumstances. He was chiefly employed in what was 
called riding Sherborne. There was at that time scarcely 
a bookseller in Cornwall ; and the only newspaper 
known among the common people was the Sherborne 
Mercury, published weekly by Goadby and Co., who 
also issued the Weekly Entertainer. The papers were 
not sent by post, but by private messengers, who were 
termed Sherborne men. Drew, senior, was one of these. 
Between Plymouth and Penzance were two stages on 
the main road, each about forty miles ; and there were 
branch riders, in different directions, who held regular 
communication with each other and with the establish- 
ment at Sherborne. Their business was to deliver the 
newspapers, Entertainers, and any books that had been 
ordered, to collect the money, and to take fresh orders. 
Mr. Drew's stage was from S. Austell to Plymouth. 
He always set off on his journey early on Monday 
morning and returned on Wednesday. 

When Samuel Drew had made up his mind to run 
away, he did not choose the direct road for fear of en- 
countering his father, but took that by Liskeard. 

" I went on through the night, and feeling fatigued, 
went into a hay-field and slept. My luggage was no 
encumbrance ; as the whole of my property, besides 
the clothes 1 wore, was contained in a small handker- 
chief. Not knowing how long I should have to depend 
on my slender stock of cash, I found it necessary to 
use the most rigid economy. Having to pass over 



350 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

either a ferry or toll-bridge, for which I had to pay a 
halfpenny, feeling my present situation, and knowing 
nothing of my future prospects, this small call upon 
my funds distressed me, I wept as I went on my way. 
The exertion of walking and the fresh morning air 
gave me a keener appetite than I thought it pru- 
dent to indulge. I, however, bought a penny loaf, 
and with a halfpenny-worth of milk in a farmer's house 
ate half of my loaf for breakfast. In passing through 
Liskeard my attention was attracted by a shoemaker's 
shop, in the door of which a respectable-looking man, 
whom I supposed to be the master, was standing. 
Without any intention of seeking employment in this 
place, I asked him if he could give me work ; and he, 
taking compassion, I suppose, on my sorry appear- 
ance, promised to employ me the next morning. Be- 
fore I could go to work tools were necessary ; and I was 
obliged to lay out a shilling on these. Dinner, under 
such circumstances, was out of the question ; for supper 
I bought another halfpenny-worth of milk, ate the re- 
mainder of my loaf, and for a lodging again had 
recourse to the fields. The next morning I purchased 
another penny loaf and renewed my labour. My em- 
ployer soon found that I was a miserable tool, yet he 
treated me kindly. I had now but one penny left, and 
this I wished to husband till my labour brought a 
supply ; so for dinner I tied my apron-strings tighter 
and went on with my work. My abstinence subjected 
me to the jeers of my shopmates. One of them said to 
another, ' Where does our shopmate dine ? ' and the 
response was, ' Oh ! he always dines at the sign of the 
Mouth.' Half of the penny loaf which I took with me 
in the morning I had allotted for my supper ; but 
before night came I had pinched it nearly all away in 
mouthfuls through mere hunger. Very reluctantly I 



SAMUEL DREW 351 

laid out my last penny, and with no enviable feelings 
sought my former lodging in the open air." 

But on the following day Samuel's father, having 
learned where he was, came to remove him and take 
him back to S. Austell. Compensation was made to 
Baker, his indenture was cancelled, and he remained 
at Polpea, where Mr. Drew now had a little farm, for 
about four months. 

Drew, the father, not only was occupied as a Sher- 
borne rider, but he was also a contractor for carrying 
the mail between S. Austell and Bodmin, and he 
chiefly employed his eldest son, Jabez, in carrying the 
mails. 

" At one time in the depth of winter I was borrowed 
to supply my brother's place, and I had to travel in 
the darkness of night through frost and snow a dreary 
journey, out and home, of more than twenty miles. 
Being overpowered with fatigue, I fell asleep on the 
horse's neck, and when I awoke discovered that I had 
lost my hat. The wind was keen and piercing, and 
I was bitterly cold. I stopped the horse and en- 
deavoured to find out where I was ; but it was so dark 
that I could scarcely distinguish the hedges on each 
side of the road, and I had no means of ascertaining 
how long I had been asleep or how far I had travelled. 
I then dismounted and looked around for my hat ; but 
seeing nothing of it, I turned back, leading the horse, 
determined to find it if possible ; for the loss of a hat 
was to me of serious consequence. Shivering with 
cold, I pursued my solitary way, scrutinizing the road 
at every step, until I had walked about two miles, and 
was on the point of giving up the search, when I came 
to a receiving house, where I ought to have delivered 
a packet of letters, but had passed it when asleep. To 
this place the post usually came about one o'clock in 



352 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

the morning, and it was customary to leave a window 
unfastened, except by a large stone outside, that the 
family might not be disturbed at so unseasonable an 
hour. I immediately put the letter-bag through the 
window, and having replaced the stone, was turning 
round to my horse, when I perceived my hat lying 
close to my feet. I suppose that the horse, knowing 
the place, must have stopped at the window for me to 
deliver my charge ; but having waited until his patience 
was exhausted, had pursued his way to the next place. 
My hat must have been shaken off by his impatient 
movements." 

The remarkable thing about this incident is that the 
horse was quite blind, yet it could go its accustomed 
road, and stop at accustomed places, without seeing. 
By all the family this sagacious animal was much 
prized, but Samuel's father felt for it a special regard ; 
and the attachment between the master and his faithful 
servant was, to all appearance, mutual. Many years 
before, the poor beast, in a wretched condition from 
starvation and ill-usage, had been turned out on a 
common to die. The owner willingly sold it for little 
more than the value of the hide ; and his new possessor, 
having by care and kindness restored it to health and 
strength, soon found that he had made a most ad- 
vantageous bargain. For more than twenty years he 
and his blind companion travelled the road together. 
After the horse was past labour it was kept in 
the orchard and tended with almost parental care. 
Latterly it became unable to bite the grass, and the old 
man regularly fed it with bread sopped in milk. In 
the morning it would put its head over the orchard 
railing, towards its master's bedroom, and give its 
accustomed neigh, whereupon old Mr. Drew would 
jump out of bed, open the window, and call to the 



SAMUEL DREW 353 

horse, " My poor old fellow, I will be with thee soon." 
And when the animal died, he would not allow the 
skin or shoes to be taken off, but had the carcase 
buried entire. 

Samuel tells another story of instinct in brute 
beasts : — 

" Our dairy was under a room which was used occa- 
sionally as a barn and apple-chamber, into which the 
fowls sometimes found their way, and, in scratching 
among the chaff, scattered the dust on the pans of milk 
below, to the great annoyance of my mother-in-law. 
In this a favourite cock of hers was the chief trans- 
gressor. One day in harvest she went into the dairy, 
followed by her little dog, and finding dust again 
thrown on the milk-pans, she exclaimed, ' I wish that 
cock were dead ! ' Not long after, she being with us 
in the harvest field, we observed the little dog drag- 
ging along the cock, just killed, which with an air of 
triumph he laid at my mother-in-law's feet. She was 
dreadfully exasperated at the literal fulfilment of her 
hastily uttered wish, and, snatching a stick from the 
hedge, attempted to give the luckless dog a beating. 
The dog, seeing the reception he was likely to meet 
with, where he expected marks of approbation, left the 
bird and ran off, she brandishing her stick and saying 
in a loud, angry tone, ' I'll pay thee for this by and by.' 
In the evening she was about to put her threat into 
execution, when she found the little dog established in 
a corner of the room and a large one standing before 
it. Endeavouring to fulfil her intention by first driv- 
ing off the large dog, he gave her plainly to under- 
stand that he was not at all disposed to relinquish his 
post. She then sought to get at the small dog behind 
the other, but the threatening gesture and fiercer growl 
of the large one sufficiently indicated that the attempt 

2 A 



354 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

would be not a little perilous. The result was that she 
was obliged to abandon her design. In killing the 
cock I can scarcely think the dog understood the pre- 
cise import of my stepmother's wish, as his immediate 
execution of it would seem to imply. The cock was a 
more recent favourite, and had received some atten- 
tions which had been previously bestowed upon him- 
self. This, I think, had led him to entertain a feeling 
of hostility to the bird, which he did not presume to 
indulge until my mother's tone and manner indicated 
that the cock was no longer under her protection. In 
the power of communicating with each other which 
these dogs evidently possessed, and which, in some 
instances, has been displayed by this species of 
animal, a faculty seems to be developed of which we know 
very little. On the whole, I never remember to have 
met with a case in which, to human appearance, there 
was a nearer approach to moral perception than in that 
of my father's two dogs." 

Samuel Drew remained with his father's family from 
midsummer, 1782, till the autumn of the same year, 
and then took a situation in a shoemaker's shop at Mill- 
brook, on the Cornish side of the estuary of the Tamar. 
After having been there for a year he moved to Caw- 
sand and then to Crafthole, where he got mixed up in 
smuggling ventures. 

Port Wrinkle, which Crafthole adjoins, lies about 
the middle of the extensive bay reaching from Looe 
Island to the Rame Head, It is little more than a 
fissure among the rocks which guard the long line of 
coast ; and being exposed to the uncontrolled violence 
of the prevailing winds, affords a very precarious 
shelter. 

Notice was given through Crafthole one evening, 
about the month of December, 1784, that a vessel laden 



SAMUEL DREW 355 

with contraband goods was on the coast, and would be 
ready to discharge her cargo. At nightfall Samuel 
Drew, with the rest of the male population, made 
towards the port. One party remained on the rocks to 
make signals and dispose of the goods when landed ; 
the other, of which he was one, manned the boats. 
The night was intensely dark ; and but little progress 
had been made in discharging the vessel's cargo when 
the wind freshened, with a heavy sea. To prevent the 
ship being driven on to the rocks it was found expedi- 
ent to stand off from the port; but this greatly increased 
the risk to those in the boats. Unfavourable as these 
circumstances were, all seemed resolved to persevere ; 
and several trips were made between the vessel and the 
shore. The wind continuing to increase, one of the 
men in the boat with Drew had his hat blown off, and 
in leaning over the gunwale in his attempt to secure 
it, upset the boat, and three of the men were drowned. 
Samuel and two others clung to the keel for a time, but 
finding that they were drifting out to sea, they were 
constrained to let go and sustain themselves by swim- 
ming. But the night was pitch dark, and immersed in 
the waters they knew not in which direction to swim. 
Samuel had given himself up as lost, when he laid hold 
of a tangled mass of floating seaweed, and was able to 
sustain himself on that. At length he approached some 
rocks near the shore, upon which he and two other 
men, the only survivors of seven, managed to crawl ; 
but they were so benumbed with cold and so much 
exhausted by their exertions that the utmost they could 
do was to cling to the rocks and let the sea wash 
over them. When a little recovered, they shouted 
for help, but the other boatmen were concerned in 
transporting their lading of kegs on shore, and not 
till the vessel had discharged all her cargo did they 



356 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

make any attempt to rescue the half-drowned men. 
Eventually they removed them to a farmhouse, where a 
blazing fire was kindled on the hearth and fresh fag- 
gots piled on it, while the half-drowned men, who 
were placed in a recess of the chimney, unable to 
relieve themselves, were compelled to endure the 
excessive heat which their companions thought was 
necessary to restore animation. The result was that 
they were half roasted. Samuel Drew says : " My first 
sensation was that of extreme cold. It was a long time 
before I felt the fire, though its effects are still visible 
on my legs, which are burnt in several places. The 
wounds continued open more than two years, and the 
marks I shall carry to my grave. " 

The death of his elder brother Jabez produced a pro- 
found impression on Samuel, and he became a Metho- 
dist. 

' ' For the space of about four or five years I 
travelled through different parts of Cornwall, working 
whenever I could obtain employment ; and during 
this period, waded through scenes of domestic distress, 
which can be interesting only to myself. Literature 
was a term to which I could annex no idea. Grammar 
I knew not the meaning of. An opportunity, however, 
now offering one an advance in wages at S. Austell, 
I embraced it, and came hither to work with rather an 
eccentric character. My master was by trade a saddler, 
had acquired some knowledge of book-binding, and 
hired me to carry on the shoe-making for him. My 
master was one of those men who will live anywhere, 
but get rich nowhere. His shop was frequented by 
persons of a more respectable class than those with 
whom I had previously associated ; and various topics 
became alternately the subjects of conversation. I 
listened with all that attention which my labour and 



SAMUEL DREW 357 

good manners would permit me, and obtained among 
them some little knowledge. About this time disputes 
ran high in S. Austell between the Calvinists and 
Arminians, and our shop afforded a considerable scene 
of action. In cases of uncertain issue, I was sometimes 
appealed to to decide upon a doubtful point. This, 
perhaps, flattering my vanity, became a new stimulus 
to action. I listened with attention, examined diction- 
aries, picked up many words, and, from an attachment 
which I felt to books that were occasionally brought 
to his shop to bind, I began to have some view of the 
various theories with which they abounded. The 
more, however, I read, the more I felt my own ignor- 
ance ; and the more I felt my own ignorance, the 
more invincible became my energy to surmount it ; and 
every leisure moment was now employed in reading 
one thing or other. . . . After having worked with 
this master about three years, I well recollect, a neigh- 
bouring gentleman brought Locke's Essay on the 
Human Understanding to be bound. I had never seen 
or heard of these books before. I took an occasion to 
look into them, when I thought his mode of reasoning 
very pretty and his arguments exceedingly strong. I 
watched all opportunities of reading for myself, and 
would willingly have laboured a fortnight to have had 
the books. They, however, were soon carried away, 
and with them all my future improvement by their 
means. I never saw his essay again for many years, 
yet the early impression was not forgotten, and it is 
from this accidental circumstance that I received my 
first bias for abstruse subjects. 

" My master growing inattentive to his shoe-making 
trade, many of my friends advised me to commence 
business for myself, and offered me money for that 
purpose. I accepted the offer, started accordingly, 



358 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

and by mere dint of application, in about one year 
discharged my debts and stood alone. My leisure 
hours I now employed in reading, or scribbling any- 
thing which happened to pass my mind," 

Thus he went on till 1798, when he laid the founda- 
tion of an Essay on the Immortality of the Soul. Whilst 
engaged upon this he had T. Paine's Age of Reason 
put into his hands. He read it, but saw the fallacy of 
many of his arguments, and he wrote his remarks on 
the book, and published them in pamphlet form at 
S. Austell in 1799. 

Through this tract he obtained acquaintance with 
the Rev. John Whitaker, to whom he showed his MS. 
on The Im,m,ortality of the Soul, and was encouraged 
to revise, continue, and complete the essay, and it was 
published in November, 1802. 

" During these literary pursuits I regularly and con- 
stantly attended on my business, and do not recollect 
that ever one customer has been disappointed by me 
through these means. While attending to my trade, 
I sometimes catch the fibres of an argument, which I 
endeavour to note the prominent features of, and keep 
a pen and ink by me for the purpose. In this state, 
what I can collect through the day remains on any 
paper which I have at hand till the business of the day 
is dispatched and my shop shut up, when, in the 
midst of my family, I endeavour to analyze, in the 
evening, such thoughts as had crossed my mind 
during the day." 

At one time the bent of Drew's mind was towards 
astronomy, but when he considered how impossible 
it was for him, without means, to purchase a powerful 
telescope, to make any progress in the study of the 
stars, he abandoned the thought and devoted himself 
to metaphysics — perhaps one of the most unprofitable 



SAMUEL DREW 359 

of all studies. His works were, however, read by some 
when they issued from the press, and are now no 
longer even looked into. 

A friend one day remarked to him, "Mr. Drew, 
more than once I have heard you quote the line — 

' Where ig-norance is bliss^ 'tis folly to be wise.' 

How do you make that out ? " 

" I will tell you by my own experience," replied 
Drew. "When I began business I was a great 
politician. For the first year I had too much to 
think about to indulge my propensity for politics ; 
but, getting a little ahead in the world, I began to 
dip into these matters again, and entered into news- 
paper argument as if my livelihood depended on it ; 
my shop was filled with loungers, who came to canvass 
public measures. This encroached on my time, and 
I found it necessary sometimes to work till midnight 
to make up for the hours I lost. One night, after my 
shutters were closed, and I was busily employed, some 
little urchin who was passing put his mouth to the 
keyhole of the door, and with a shrill pipe called out, 
' Shoemaker ! Shoemaker ! Work by night and run 
about by day ! ' Had a pistol been fired off at my ear 
I could not have been more confounded. From that 
time I turned over a new leaf. I ceased to venture on 
the restless sea of politics, or trouble myself about 
matters which did not concern me. The bliss of 
ignorance on political topics I often experienced in 
after life — the folly of being wise my early history 
shows." 

His sister kept house for him. One market-day a 
country-woman entered his shop, and having com- 
pleted her purchases, remarked that she thought he 
would be more comfortable if he had a wife. Drew 



36o CORNISH CHARACTERS 

assented, but said, " I don't know any one who would 
have me." "Oh! that's easily settled," said the 
woman, and left. Next market-day she returned, 
bringing her buxom, apple-cheeked daughter with 
her. "There, Mr. Drew," said she; "I brought this 
maid, who will make 'ee a good wife," 

Samuel demurred ; he neither knew the family nor 
the qualities and character of the wench. 

"Lor' bless 'eel" said the woman, when he made 
these objections, "take her. The trial of the pudding 
is in the eating." 

He declined the proposal, however ; but this incident 
turned his mind to matrimony, and on April 17th, 1791, 
when in his twenty-seventh year, he married Honor 
Halls, and by her had five sons and three daughters. 
His wife's immediate fortune was ;^io, a sum of great 
importance at that time to him. Three years after it 
was increased by a legacy of ;^5o. 

Having made a certain amount of success with his 
Essay on the Immortality of the Soul, Drew next under- 
took one on The Identity and Resurrection of the Human 
Body, and this was published in 1809. 

Into a controversy he was engaged in with Mr. 
Polwhele in 1800 on Methodism we need not enter, 
but it made no breach of friendly feeling between Mr.. 
Polwhele and him, and it was at the request of the 
former that Drew wrote the little account of his life that 
appeared in Polwhele's Literary Characters, 1803. 

Having experienced his own great difficulties in 
acquiring the principles of the English grammar, in 
1804 he gave a course of lectures on that subject. 
These lectures, which occupied about two hours, were 
delivered on four evenings of the week, two being 
allotted to each sex separately. A year completed the 
course of instruction, and for this each pupil paid 



SAMUEL DREW 361 

thirty shillings. He was able to illustrate his lectures 
very happily with anecdote and from- his own experi- 
ence, so as to render the barren study of grammar 
interesting and entertaining. Though never able to 
write first-class English, and often clumsy in diction, 
yet he was studiously correct in grammar, if often awk- 
ward in construction of a sentence. 

In the year 1805 he gave up his cobbling business 
and devoted himself entirely to his pen. Seeing his 
value as a polemic writer in favour of the fundamental 
doctrines of Christianity, several of the clergy of 
Cornwall were anxious that he should join the Church ; 
but his early association with Dissent, and his ignor- 
ance of Catholic doctrine, induced him to remain where 
he was in the Methodist Connection. 

He next wrote an Essay on the Being and Attributes 
of the Deity, and a reply to Thomas Prout, On the 
Divinity of Christ and the Eternal Sonship. All this 
was very well in its way at the time, but is now so 
much waste paper, used only for covering jampots. 

In 1814 Samuel Drew undertook his most voluminous 
work, the History of Cornwall, one which he was 
wholly unqualified to undertake, as he had no famili- 
arity with the MS. material on which that history 
should be based ; and it was a mere compilation from 
already printed matter. 

In 1819 Samuel Drew removed to Liverpool, where 
he acted as local preacher in the Methodist meeting- 
houses. To this period belongs the epigram written 
on him by Dr. Clarke : — 

Long' was the man, and long was his hair, 

And long was the coat which this long man did wear. 

He became editor of the Imperial Magazine, and 
after a short while in Liverpool, migrated to London. 



362 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

In 1828 he lost his wife. " When my wife died," he 
was wont to say, " my earthly sun set for ever." 

In 1833 he returned to Cornwall, and died at Helston 
on March 29th, at the age of sixty-eight. 

Slender in form, with a head remarkably small for 
the length of his limbs, his stature exceeded the 
common height. He had a searching and intelligent 
eye, was somewhat uncouth in his movements, but was 
full of energy of mind and body. He sometimes wrote 
verses, which only a very partial biographer would 
call poetry. But what he prided himself on being was 
not a poet, but a metaphysician. 

The story goes that S. Augustine was walking one 
day by the seashore, musing on the attributes of God 
and on the demonstration of the Divine nature, when 
he saw a child digging a hole in the sand, and then 
with a fan-shell ladling the sea-water into the hole it 
had made. 

S. Augustine paused and asked, " My child, what 
are you about?" 

"I am going to empty the sea into this hole," 
replied the child. 

Then S. Augustine entered into himself and thought : 
" Can a man with the limited capacity of his brain 
embrace the infinity of the Divine nature and perfec- 
tions? Is it not like emptying the sea into a tiny hole 
to try to effect this?" 

Drew's life labours were just doing this. There was 
a certain amount of intellectual ingenuity in his argu- 
ments, but that was all. Not a leaf that he wrote is of 
any permanent value, but that it was of value at the 
time when he wrote I should be the last to deny. 

There is abundant material for a life of Samuel 
Drew. Not only may it be found in the life by his son 
mentioned at the head of this article, and in his own 



SAMUEL DREW 363 

biographical memoir given by R. Polwhele, but his 
son J. H. Drew also published a second memoir, under 
the title Samuel Drew, M.A., the Self-Taught Cornish- 
man; A Life Lesson, published in 1861 ; also in 
Lives of the Illustrums, by J. P. Edwards, 1852 ; and 
Mr. Smiles has devoted some pages to him in Self-Help, 
1866. The portrait of Samuel Drew is given as frontis- 
piece to the first volume of The Imperial Magazine, 
18 19, and also to the Life by his son. 



THE SIEGE OF SKEWIS 

SKEWIS is a small, not very interesting farm- 
house in itself, on the high road from Cam- 
borne to Helston, near the station of Nance- 
gollan. Although at a distance of five miles 
from Tregonning Hill, that height crowned by a stone 
camp, and with two camps on its slopes, seems to 
dominate it. The country around is bleak and treeless 
except in dips, and where are the grounds of Clow- 
ance. To the north is the camp of Tregeare, where 
was once seated an ancient family of the same name, 
which died out in the reign of William of Orange 
with Richard Tregeare, sheriff of Cornwall. Skewis 
had been for some time the patrimony^Sf-a succession 
of yeoman proprietors of the name of Rogers. 

In 1734 there were two brothers of that name sons 
of the owner of Skewis. On their father's death the 
eldest succeeded to the property, and the younger, 
Henry, carried on the trade of pewterer in Helston. 
Both were married, but the elder had no children, 
whereas Henry had several. 

On the death of the elder brother, his widow, whose 
maiden name had been Millett, produced a will whereby 
her late husband had bequeathed all his freehold pro- 
perty to her. This greatly exasperated Henry, who 
considered that as Skewis had belonged to the Rogers 
family for many generations, he was entitled to it, and 
he averred that the will had been wrung from his dying 
brother by the importunity of the wife when he was 

364 




HENRY ROGERS: PEWTERER 



THE SIEGE OF SKEWIS 365 

feeble in mind as well as body. Forthwith, in place of 
disputing the will when proved, he took forcible 
possession of the house, and turned out of it some 
female servants left in charge of it whilst his sister-in- 
law was from home. 

The whole neighbourhood was satisfied that great 
wrong had been done to Henry Rogers, and was loud 
in its condemnation of the widow. 

When Mrs. Rogers found herself forcibly dis- 
possessed she appealed to the law, and judgment was 
given against Henry. 

Stephen Tillie was under-sheriff, and he received 
orders to eject Rogers, and place Anne, the widow, 
in possession. On June i8th, 1734, he accordingly 
went to Skewis to serve the summons. But Henry 
stood at an upper window armed with a gun, and dared 
the under-sheriff to approach. Tillie shouted to him 
that he had the King's writ and must have possession, 
but assured him that he would not meddle with his 
person. 

By this time a crowd of some two or three hundred 
persons had assembled, all sympathizers with Henry 
Rogers, and murmuring their disapproval of the 
ejectment. 

Henry, from his window, called out that the Lord 
Chancellor had made an unjust decree. 

Tillie replied that Henry Rogers might appeal against 
the decision, but surrender the house he must. 

Rogers, in reply, fired, and, as the under-sheriff 
stated, " burned his wig and singed his face." 

This so frightened Tillie that he withdrew, and sent 
to Helston for some soldiers; and Captain Sadler, then 
in charge of the military there, despatched some to his 
aid. 

So reinforced, on the morrow Tillie went again to 



366 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Skewis, and found the door shut, and a hole cut in it, 
with a gun-barrel protruding. 

Again the under-sheriff demanded admittance, and 
for reply the gun was fired, and a bailiff named 
William Carpenter was mortally wounded. Another 
gun was then discharged, and Hatch, the under- 
sheriff's servant, was struck. Anne Rogers, the 
plaintiff, was in the rear animating the soldiers against 
the occupants of the house. Mrs. Henry Rogers was 
within, loading and serving out the guns to her hus- 
band and to his servant John Street. A soldier was 
shot in the groin, and two other men were wounded. 
Thereupon the soldiers fired upon the house, and 
though the bullets flew in at the window, none of 
those within were hurt. 

Woolsten, the soldier shot in the groin, was taken to 
the rear, where he died. A bullet whizzed through 
Stephen Tillie's hat. Discretion is the better part of 
valour. Accordingly the under-sheriff gave orders 
to beat a retreat, and like the King of France's men 
who marched up a hill and then marched down again, 
Tillie and his posse of bailiffs and military retired from 
the battlefield, carrying their dead and wounded, with- 
out having effected an entry. In a kindly spirit Rogers 
offered Tillie a dram, but the under-sheriff's courage 
was too much quailed to allow him to draw near 
enough to accept the hospitable offer. 

Indeed, it took Mr. Tillie nine months to gather up 
sufficient courage to resume the attack, and then not 
till he had ordered up cannon from Pendennis Castle. 
On the former occasion there had been at least ten 
soldiers under the command of an officer. Within the 
house were only Henry Rogers, his wife, his small 
children, and his servant-man. 

On March i6th, in the year following, another party 



THE SIEGE OF SKEWIS 367 

was sent to apprehend Rogers and take possession of 
the house. On this occasion, apparently Mr. Stephen 
Tillie did not put in his appearance, but left the duty to 
be discharged by the constables. Henry Rogers was 
prepared for them, and fired, when one named Andrew 
Willis, alias Tubby, was shot dead. Rogers then, 
with the utmost coolness, came out of the door and 
walked round the man he had shot, and again on this 
occasion offered the besiegers a drink. The besiegers 
then retired, but not till a second man had been 
shot. 

During the night Henry Rogers effected his escape. 
He travelled on foot to Salisbury, with the intention of 
making his case known to the King. 

Sir John S. Aubyn, of Clowance, now took an active 
part in endeavouring to secure the fugitive, and hand- 
bills descriptive of Rogers were circulated along the 
road to London, whither it was known he was making 
his way. Near Salisbury a postboy, driving home- 
wards a return post-chaise, was accosted by a stout 
man walking with a gun in his hand, who requested to 
be given a lift. The boy drove him to the inn, where 
he procured a bed ; but the circumstances and descrip- 
tion had excited strong suspicion, and he was secured 
in his sleep. The prisoner was removed to Cornwall. 
He and his man Street were tried at the assizes at 
Launceston on August ist, 1735, were both found 
guilty of murder, and were both hanged. 

It is not possible to withhold sympathy from both men, 
especially Street, who acted on the belief that it was his 
duty to be true to his master, and to defend him and his 
property to the utmost. 

Mr. Davies Gilbert gives the minutes of an interesting 
conversation he had with the son of Henry Rogers who 
was hanged. 



368 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

"On the 30th October, 1812, I called on Mr. Henry 
Rogers, formerly a saddler at Penzance, but then resid- 
ing there in great poverty, being supported by a small 
allowance from a club, and by half a crown a week 
given him by the Corporation, nominally for yielding 
up the possession of a house, but in truth to prevent 
his becoming a common pauper. 

"Mr. Henry Rogers was then eighty-four years of 
age and remembered the unfortunate transactions at 
Skewis perfectly well ; he was between seven and eight 
years old at the time. He recollected going out with 
his father into the court after there had been some 
firing. His father had a gun in his hand, and 
inquired what they wanted. On this his father 
was fired at, and had a snuff-box and powder-horn 
broken in his pocket by a ball, whilst he stood on 
the other side. 

"He recollected that whilst he was in bed, several 
balls came in through the windows of the room, and 
after striking the wall rolled about on the floor. 

"One brother and a sister, who were in the house, 
went out to inquire what was wanted of their father, and 
they were not permitted to return. 

" On the last night, no one remained in the house 
but his father, himself, and the servant-maid. In the 
middle of the night they all went out, and got some 
distance from the house. In crossing a field, however, 
they were met by two soldiers, who inquired their busi- 
ness. The maid answered that they were looking for a 
cow, when they were permitted to proceed. The soldiers 
had their arms, and his father had his gun. The maid 
and himself were left at a farmhouse in the neighbour- 
hood, and Mr. Rogers proceeded on his way towards 
London." 

The authorities for the story of the siege of Skewis 



THE SIEGE OF SKEWIS 369 

are: Richard Hooker's Weekly Miscellany, 9 August, 
1 735 > George Harris's Ltfe of Lord Cliancellor Hardwick, 
I, pp. 295-303 ; Caulfield's Portraits of Remarkable 
Persons, 181 3 ; and Davies Gilbert's Parochial Histoty 
of Cornwall. 



2 B 



THE VOYAGE OF JOHN SANDS 

IANARTH, in the parish of S. Keverne, in the 
Lizard district, was for many generations 
. the residence of the family of Sands. The 
—^ family was not represented at the Heralds' 
Visitation of 1620, and did not record its arms and 
pedigree, but was nevertheless regarded in the eigh- 
teenth century as "gentle," and was united to other 
families of respectability. 

Sampson Sands, who died in 1696, was married to 
Jane, daughter of John Coode, of Breage, but he died 
without issue and left his estate to his brother's son, 
John Sands, married to a daughter of Hamley, of 
S. Neot. 

This John Sands, one afternoon in January, 1702-3, 
and seven other persons, men and women, of 
S. Keverne, were returning from Falmouth in a fish- 
ing boat of about five tons burden, without deck or 
covering, after having done their marketing at a fair 
there. 

When they had got to sea, about a league from the 
mouth of the Fal and about two leagues off S. Keverne, 
suddenly there rose a storm of wind from the west, 
and the sea rising and rolling in great crested waves 
round the terrible points of the Manacles, the rowers 
were unable to make headway against it. If they 
could not reach Porthoustock, for which they were 
bound, they hoped at least to run into Porthallow. 
But even this they were unable to effect. The fury of 

370 



THE VOYAGE OF JOHN SANDS 371 

the blast and the great masses of water heaved against 
the little boat made progress impossible, and they 
resolved on running back into Falmouth harbour. 
Accordingly the vessel was turned, but the raging 
wind and sea and the tide setting out from the land 
swept them from the coast. Moreover, the short 
winter day was closing in. The sun went down 
behind a wild and inky bank of cloud, and speedily 
night set in dark and terrible. The unfortunate boat- 
load of marketers could do no more than invoke God's 
protection, and bail out the water as fast as it poured 
over the gunwale. The oars were shipped, and the 
boatmen declared that there was nothing to be done 
but to let loose the helm and allow the boat to 
drive. 

The night was cold as well as tempestuous. On 
the blast of the wind came down torrents of rain. The 
men and women alike laboured hard to cast out of the 
boat the water that poured in. For sixteen hours 
darkness lasted. How may each have said with 
Gonzalo : "Now would I give a thousand furlongs of 
sea for an acre of barren ground, long heath, brown 
furze, anything. I would fain die a dry death." At 
length there rose a raw light in the south-east, against 
which the billows stood up black as ink. As the light 
grew, those in the boat found themselves encircled 
with sea, out of sight of land, and with the clouds 
scudding overhead, as if running a race. The storm 
continued all that day and the night following. Not 
only so, but also the third day and night the battle 
with the influx of water continued. There was no 
sleep for any ; all had to fight the water for their lives. 
Happily they were not starving, for Mr. Sands had 
taken over to Falmouth in the boat a woman, the 
taverner's wife of the "Three Tuns," who had brought 



372 CORNISH CHARA(^TERS 

with her from Falmouth a shilling's worth of bread 
and three or four gallons of brandy. On this they 
subsisted. 

On the fourth day in the morning, the gale abated, 
and at ten o'clock land was descried. Forthwith the 
rowers bent to their oars and steered towards it. When 
the whole party landed they discovered that they had 
been wafted over to the coast of Normandy ; and they 
found themselves on French soil at the time that Queen 
Anne was engaged in war with Loiiis XIV. Marl- 
borough had been in the Netherlands, and had reduced 
Venloo, Ruremonde, and the citadel of Liege. At sea 
Rooke had captured six vessels and sunk thirteen at 
Vigo, and Admiral Benbow had done wonders against a 
French fleet in the West Indies. The French were sore 
and irritated. So soon as Mr. Sands and his little 
party stepped on shore they were encountered by 
several men armed, who demanded who they were. 
They replied that they were English. One of the party 
stopping them understood our language, and inquired 
the occasion of these visitors landing on the enemy's 
shores, and by what expedient they had come over. 
They replied, and gave an account of their perilous 
voyage of three nights and four days. 

Upon this a gentleman of the company asked 
Mr. Sands from what part of England he came, and 
when he replied that they were all from Cornwall, the 
same gentleman inquired further whether the leader 
of the party was named Sands ; to this he replied, in 
some surprise, that he was. 

"Then, monsieur," said the Frenchman, "I know 
you, and I can well remember your kindness and 
hospitality when I was wrecked off the Lizard some 
years ago. Then you received me into your house, and 
entertained me most generously." 



THE VOYAGE OF JOHN SANDS 373 

This was an unexpected and welcome encounter. 
The gentleman then required the party to surrender 
what arms and money they had with them, and Mr. 
Sands handed over forty guineas that he had received 
at Falmouth for pilchards just before he was driven out 
to sea in the boat. He and his companions were 
required to yield themselves prisoners of war ; and 
Mr. Sands was received into the gentleman's home. 
All next day were brought before a magistrate and 
examined, and orders were given that they should not 
be kept in custody as prisoners of war, but should be 
permitted to go about at liberty, and beg alms of the 
people. And the kind-hearted Normandy peasants and 
gentlemen showed them great favour, and supplied all 
their pressing wants. 

The news of the event not only flew over the country, 
but reached the ears of the King, who thereupon ordered 
that the whole party should be sent back to England by 
the first transport ship for prisoners of war ; which 
happened soon after. 

Mr. Sands took leave of his kind host in whose house 
he had been hospitably entertained, and begged him to 
accept the forty guineas as some acknowledgment of 
his kindness. This, however, the gentleman refused 
to do, saying that he would take nothing at his 
hands, since God in such a wonderful manner had pre- 
served him and his companions from the perils of the 
deep. Then Mr. Sands pressed five guineas on the 
wife of his host, begging her with that sum to purchase 
something which might remind her of him and his 
party ; and this she reluctantly received. 

So they parted, and all went on board a transport 
ship and were safely landed at Portsmouth ; and in 
eight weeks after their departure from England re- 
turned to S. Keverne, to the great joy and surprise of 



374 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

their friends and relations, who had concluded that all 
of them had been drowned. 

The Rev. Sampson Sandys was grandson of the 
gentleman who was carried over to France, as described. 
He lived at Lanarth to a great age. His daughter 
Eleanor married Admiral James Kempthorne, r.n. 
He was succeeded at Lanarth by his nephew, William 
Sandys, a colonel in the army of the East India Com- 
pany, who rebuilt the house. It must be added that 
the original name of the family was not Sandys but 
Sands, and that it assumed the former name as more 
euphonious and as supposing a connection which, how- 
ever, has not been proved to exist, with Lord Sandys 
of The Vine, and Ombersley, Worcestershire, and the 
Cumberland family of Graythwaite. At the same time, 
it assumed the arms of the same distinguished family, 
or, a fesse dancette between three crosses crosslet fichee 
gules. 



CHARLES INCLEDON 

THIS, one of the sweetest tenor singers England 
has produced, was born at S. Keverne in 
Cornwall, in 1764, and was the son of a 
petty local surgeon and apothecary prac- 
tising there. 

At the age of seven he was introduced by Mr. 
Snow, one of the minor canons of Exeter Cathedral, 
to the organist, then named Langdon, and he afterwards 
became the pupil of William Jackson the composer, 
who was for many years organist of the cathedral. 
Jackson took great notice of the boy, and made him 
sing his own compositions at concerts in the city. 
On one occasion, when the assizes were on at Exeter, 
Judge Nares attended in state at the morning service in 
the cathedral, when Incledon sang the solo " Let my 
soul love," in the anthem, "Let my complaint come 
before Thee, O Lord," with such effect and beauty 
that the tears rolled down the judge's cheeks, and at 
the conclusion of Divine service he sent for the boy 
and presented him with five guineas. 

Incledon was wont, on summer evenings, to seat 
himself on a rail in the cathedral close and sing, to the 
delight of an audience that always collected as soon as 
his bird-like voice was heard. On one such occasion 
he was singing the song "When I was a shepherd's 
maid," from The Padlock, when a gentleman in regi- 
mentals stepped forward and asked his name. Next 
day this officer, the Hon. Mr. Trevor, called on Jackson 

37S 



376 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

and asked permission to take the lad with him to 
Torquay, where he was going to visit Commodore 
Walsingham of the Thunderer, and he desired to give 
his friend and all on board ship the pleasure of hearing 
Incledon sing. Permission was accorded, and the boy 
was on board the vessel for three days, and sang 
several nautical and other songs, beginning with 
"Blow high, blow low." The Commodore was so 
delighted that he wrote to Incledon's parents and 
asked that the lad might be placed under him in the 
vessel ; but the mother declined, and well was it that 
she did, for the Thunderer went down in a storm in 
the West Indies, and all hands on board were lost. 

The kind reception accorded to Charles Incledon on 
board induced him to harbour the resolution to become 
a sailor, and accompanied by a fellow chorister, and 
carrying a bundle of linen, he ran away, hoping to 
reach Plymouth ; but he was overtaken and brought 
back, and as a punishment was not allowed to wear his 
surplice in choir for a week. 

But when his voice broke, then he was allowed to 
follow his bent, and he embarked on board the Formid- 
able under Captain Stanton, and remained in her two 
years, till, disabled by a wound, he was left at Plymouth, 
and on his recovery was placed in a vessel commanded 
by Lord Harvey, afterwards Earl of Bristol. With 
this nobleman he sailed to Sta. Lucia, where the whole 
fleet was at anchor. Whilst there, Lord Harvey gave 
a dinner on board to his fellow commanders and other 
officers. At the same time the sailors before the mast 
enjoyed themselves with grog and songs. When 
Incledon sang, the lieutenant on deck ran to the cabin 
where the officers were regaling themselves, and told 
them that they had a nightingale on board, and would 
do well to hear it sing. Lord Harvey at once proceeded 







(^^'/m-i'V/r//, //^ ^ ■■f/ffr/////f//_ 



But Tww ag£un.77iy spirU;f si/i/c, 

lU raise rh£m.hi^7h wUfLwUic. [Drinks] 



Icndvn. PubLLslicd Vov"! -''iSlo. ^- i'. Chnpplr I'nh' Mall . 



CHARLES INCLEDON 377 

to the quarter-deck, heard Incledon sing the fine old 
traditional ballad, " 'Twas Thursday in the Morn," and 
was so impressed that he bade him at once change his 
apparel and come to the state cabin. He did so and 
sang there "The Fight of the Monmouth and Foudroy- 
ant," " Rule Britannia," and some of Jackson's favour- 
ite canzonets. The officers applauded enthusiastically, 
and jocularly appointed him Singer to the British 
Fleet. He was released from the performance of manual 
duty, and sent for to assist at every entertainment that 
succeeded. He rose high in the favour of Admiral 
Pigot, the Commander-in-Chief, and made numerous 
friends and patrons. 

In 1782 Incledon was in the engagement between the 
English fleet under Admiral Sir George Bridges, 
afterwards Lord Rodney, and the French fleet com- 
manded by the Count de Grasse, when the former 
gained a complete victory. 

At the expiration of the war Incledon was discharged 
at Chatham and proceeded to London, with strong 
recommendations from Lord Mulgrave and others to 
Mr. Colman of the Haymarket Theatre. Colman 
received him coldly, and gave him no hopes of an 
engagement. Then he went to Southampton, where he 
obtained an engagement at ten shillings and sixpence 
a week. But soon after, owing to some dispute, he left 
the company and went to Salisbury with a travelling 
company, and fell into great poverty and misery. 
However, he succeeded in obtaining an engagement at 
Bath with Mr. Palmer, the well-known theatrical 
manager, and the man who introduced mail-coaches 
into England. Here he received thirty shillings a 
week. He attracted the attention of Ranzzini, the 
arbiter of the musical entertainments at Bath ; and this 
able man gave him valuable instruction in scientific 



378 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

singing. One evening, hearing Incledon sing 
Handel's "Total Eclipse," the Italian was so delighted 
that, catching hold of his hand, he left the piano, and 
leading him to the front of the platform exclaimed, 
" Ladies an jentleman, dis is my scholar ! " 

Thomas Harris, hearing him at Bath, proposed that 
he should sing and act at Covent Garden Theatre, and 
engaged him for three years at six, seven, and eight 
pounds a week. Hardly "was this agreement made, 
when Linley, of Drury Lane, offered him twelve pounds 
a week, and to retain him for five years. But, although 
only a verbal agreement had been entered into with 
Harris, Incledon, to his honour, rejected the offer of 
Linley, It was unfortunate in more ways than one, as 
he would have profited by Linley's exquisite taste and 
instruction, as well as have earned nearly double what 
Harris offered. Moreover, he was very badly treated 
at Covent Garden, and often not given parts in 
which he could do himself justice. In 1809 came a 
rupture, and the managers dismissed him, and Incledon 
quitted London on a provincial tour. After two years 
he was re-engaged by Harris, at a salary of seventeen 
pounds a week, for a term of five years ; but he 
stipulated that he should be given such roles as suited 
him. This engagement was not fulfilled, and a fresh 
quarrel ensued that led to a final rupture at the end of 
three years, and he quitted Covent Garden for ever, 
refusing even to sing in the Oratorios performed there 
during Lent. 

He had made his first appearance at Covent 
Garden in October, 1790, as Dermont in The Poor 
Soldier, by Shield. His vocal endowments were 
certainly great ; he had a voice of uncommon power 
and sweetness, both in the natural and falsetto. The 
former was from A to G, a compass of about fourteen 



CHARLES INCLEDON 379 

notes ; the latter he could use from D to E or even F, 
or about ten notes. His natural voice was full and 
open, and of such ductility, that when he sang 
pianissimo it retained its original quality. His falsetto 
was rich, sweet, and brilliant, and totally unlike the 
other. He could use it with facility, and execute in it 
ornaments of a certain class with volubility and sweet- 
ness. His shake was good, and his intonation much 
more correct than is common to singers so imperfectly 
educated. But he never quite got over his West- 
country pronunciation. His strong point was the 
ballad, and that not the modern sentimental composi- 
tion, but of the robust old school. When Ranzzini 
first heard him at Bath, rolling his voice upwards 
like a surge of the sea, till, touching the top note, it 
expired in sweetness, he exclaimed in rapture, " Corpo 
di Dio ! it was ver' lucky dere vas some roof above or 
you would be heard by de angels in Heaven, and make 
dem jealous." 

Incledon himself used to tell a story of the effect he 
produced upon Mrs. Siddons : " She paid me one of 
the finest compliments I ever received. I sang 'The 
Storm ' after dinner ; she cried and sobbed like a child. 
Taking both my hands, she said : ' All that I and my 
brother ever did is nothing to the effect you produce. ' " 

"I remember," says William Robson, in The Old 
Playgoer, "when the elite of taste and science and 
literature were assembled to pay the well-deserved 
compliment of a dinner to John Kemble, and to present 
him with a handsome piece of plate on his retirement, 
Incledon sang, when requested, his best song, ' The 
Storm.' The effect was sublime, the silence holy, the 
feeling intense ; and while Talma was recovering from 
his astonishment, Kemble placed his hand on the arm 
of the great French actor, and said in an agitated. 



38o CORNISH CHARACTERS 

emphatic, and proud tone, ' That is an English singer.'" 
Marsden adds that Talma jumped up from his seat and 
embraced him. 

Incledon sang with great feeling, and in " The 
Storm " he was able to throw his whole heart into the 
ballad, for not only had he encountered many a storm 
at sea, but he had been shipwrecked on a passage from 
Liverpool to Dublin, on the bar. Some of those on 
board were lost, but he saved himself and his wife by 
drawing her up to the round-top and lashing her and 
himself to it. From this perilous position, after a 
duration of several hours, they were rescued by some 
fishermen who saw the wreck from the shore. 

Incledon belonged in town to "The Glee Club," 
composed of Shield, Bannister, Dignum, himself, and 
one or two others. It met on Sunday evenings during 
the season at the Garrick Coffee House, in Bow Street, 
once a fortnight. At one of these little gatherings 
Incledon was amusingly hoaxed. Though an admir- 
able singer, he was a shockingly bad actor. When he 
came in one of the party informed him that an intended 
musical performance for a charitable purpose, in which 
he, Incledon, was to sing, had been abandoned, on 
account of the Bishop of London objecting to an 
actor performing in church. Incledon, who was an 
extremely irritable man, broke out in a violent strain, 
conceiving the word actor to have been employed as a 
term of reproach, and addressing himself to Bannister, 
said with great vehemence, "There, Charles, do you 
hear that?" "Why," said Bannister, "if I were 
you, I'd make his XoxAsVr^ prmie his words." 

Incledon one day was at Tattersall's, when Suett, 
the actor, also happened to be there, and asked him 
whether he had come to buy a horse. "Yes," said 
Charles, ' ' I have. I must ride, it is good for my 



CHARLES INCLEDON 381 

health. But why are you here, Dickey ? Do you think 
that you know the difference between a horse and an 
ass?" 

"Oh, yes," replied the comedian. "If you were 
among a thousand horses, I would know you imme- 
diately." 

There was a public-house in Bow Street called 
" The Brown Bear," which was famous for a compound 
liquor, a mixture of beer, eggs, sugar, and brandy. 
Incledon and Jack Johnstone were partial to this, and 
frequently indulged themselves with it during the 
evening at the theatre, and, as a jest, occasionally 
obtained it in the following manner. When there 
happened to be several ladies of the theatre in the 
green-room, they took that opportunity to represent to 
them the hard case of the widow of a provincial actor, 
left with her children in great distress, and to solicit 
from them a few shillings to enable them to purchase 
some flannel during that inclement season. Having 
obtained contributions, they despatched the dresser to 
"The Brown Bear" for a quart of egg-hot, and had 
the modesty not to drink it all themselves, but to 
present a glass to each of the females who had sub- 
scribed, requesting them to drink to the health of the 
widow and the flannel. When Incledon and Johnstone 
had practised this trick several times. Quick, the 
comedian of the same theatre, bribed the dresser to 
infuse into the mixture a dose of ipecacuanha, and 
that brought the joke to an end. But the mixture 
thenceforth, without the last ingredient, was popularly 
called Flannel. 

Incledon was a notoriously vain man. Vanity was 
his besetting sin. "In pronouncing his own name," 
says Mr. Matthews, "he believed he described all that 
was admirable in human nature. It would happen. 



382 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

however, that this perpetual veneration of self laid him 
open to many effects which, to any man less securely 
locked and bolted in his own conceit, would have 
opened the door to his understanding. But he had no 
room there for other than what it naturally contained ; 
and the bump of content was all-sufficient to fill the 
otherwise aching void. Incledon called himself the 
'English Ballad Singer ' per se ; a distinction he would 
not have exchanged for the highest in the realm of 
talent. Among many self-deceptions arising out of his 
one great foible, he was impressed with the belief that 
he was a reading man." 

One day Matthews found him in his house deep in 
study. Incledon looked up at his visitor, and said, 
** My dear Matthews, I'm improving my mind. I'm 
reading a book that should be in the hands of every 
father and husband." 

"What is it, Charles?" asked Matthews, and lean- 
ing over him saw that it was a volume of the Newgate 
Calendar! 

It had become a habit, during a fagging run of a new 
opera at Covent Garden Theatre one season, for cer- 
tain performers to club a batch or so of Madeira, of 
which they took a glass to their dressing-rooms. In- 
cledon was continually finding fault with the quality, 
and praising up his own private stock of the same wine. 
At the close of the season, his brother actors had be- 
come weary of Incledon's grumbling over the Madeira, 
which they knew to be excellent. One night a fellow- 
actor, seeing a large key lying upon Incledon's dress- 
ing-table, labelled '■'■Cellar" and Incledon happening 
at the time to be engaged on the stage till the end 
of the opera, despatched the dresser to Brompton 
Crescent with the key, with a request to Mrs. Incledon 
from her husband that she would send one dozen of 



CHARLES INCLEDON 383 

his best Madeira by the bearer. Mrs. Incledon, 
wholly unsuspicious of any trick, did so. When 
Incledon left the stage, the confederates told him that 
they had got fresh and very first-rate Madeira now, as 
he had disliked what had been provided before. In- 
cledon took a glass, made a wry face, took another, 
and said, " Beastly stuff! Never in my life tasted such 
cheap, vile stuff." 

"Sorry, Incledon, you do not appreciate ^om?' ovm 
Madeira." 

Incledon drank pretty heavily, but did not get drunk. 
Here is a bill for a slight evening collation at the 
Orange Coffee House, for him and two friends : 

£ s. d. 

Mr. Shield, Welsh Rabbit . . . .010 
,, 2 glasses of Brandy and water .020 

Mr. Parke, Welsh Rabbit . . . .010 
,, 2 glasses of Brandy and water .020 

Mr. Incleden, Welsh Rabbit . . . .010 
,, 2 bottles of Madeira . .140 

Parke, in his Musical Memoirs, relates an instance of 
Incledon's selfishness. He says of him that he was a 
singular compound of contrarieties, amongst which 
frugality and extravagance were conspicuous. "Mr. 
Shield the composer, Incledon, and I, lived for many 
years a good deal together. On one occasion Shield 
and myself dined with Incledon at his house in Bromp- 
ton in the month of February. When I had arrived 
there, Incledon said to me, 'Bill, do you like ducks?' 
Conceiving, from the snow lying on the ground, that 
he meant wild ones, I replied, 'Yes, I like a good wild 

duck very well.' 'D wild ducks!' said he: 'I 

mean tame ducks, my boy ' ; adding, ' I bought a couple 
in town for which I gave eighteen shillings.' Soon 
afterwards a letter arrived, announcing that Mr. Ray- 



384 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

mond, the stage-manager of Drury Lane Theatre, who 
was to have been of the party, could not come ; in 
consequence of which, I presume, only one duck was 
placed on the dinner table, with some roast beef, etc. 
When Mrs. Incledon (who, as well as her husband, 
was fond of good living) had carved the duck, like a 
good wife she helped her husband to the breast part 
and to one of the wings, taking at the same time the 
other wing to herself, reserving for Shield and me the 
two legs and the back. Shield, who looked a little 
awkward at this specimen of selfishness and ill-manners, 
at first refused the limb offered to him, and I had 
declined taking the other : there appeared to be but a 
poor prospect of the legs walking ofl", till Shield re- 
lented and took one, and Incledon the other, so that 
they were speedily out of sight. The back, however, 
remained behind, and afforded a titbit for the 
servants." 

On another occasion he was giving a dinner party, 
and a dish was brought to table heaped up, apparently, 
with fresh herrings. All the company, except Incle- 
don and his wife, partook of these fish ; some were 
helped a second time. When the herrings had been 
cleared away, there appeared beneath one fine white 
fish. " My dear," said Incledon, " what can that be ? " 
" I believe it is a John Dory, Charles." 

Some of the John Dory was offered to the company, 
but they had eaten enough fish, and so Incledon and 
his wife ate the John Dory between them. 

Incledon, whilst very willing to hoax others, was 
easily taken in himself. As his dependence was entirely 
on his voice, he was very apprehensive of catching 
cold, which, in consequence, rendered him the occa- 
sional dupe of quackery. 

During Mr. Kemble's management of Covent 



CHARLES INCLEDON 385 

Garden Theatre, one of the wags among his fellow- 
actors informed him that a patent lozenge had just been 
invented and sold only at a jeweller's in Bond Street, 
which was an infallible cure for hoarseness. In order 
that he might the more readily take the bait, he was 
told that Kemble made frequent use of it. Incledon 
immediately inquired of the great actor, who very 
gravely answered, "Oh, yes, Charles; the patent 
lozenge is an admirable thing. I have derived the 
greatest benefit from it, when I kept it in my mouth all 
night." 

Incledon accordingly went to Bond Street to pur- 
chase the valuable lozenge, and the man, who had been 
previously instructed, gave him a small pebble in a 
pill-box. Incledon arrived at the theatre next day with 
the stone in his mouth and spitting frequently. He 
was, of course, asked if the patent lozenge did him any 
good. "Yes," replied he, spitting ; " I kept it in my 
mouth (spitting) all night, and (spitting again) it 
has this remarkable property, that it does not dissolve," 
and he spat again. The wag requested to see it, and 
the production of the pebble provoked a general laugh. 

"Why, Charles," said Kemble, "this is a stone! I 
meant a patent lozenge. You should have gone to an 
apothecary's and not to a jeweller's for it." 

Incledon, when he found that he was hoaxed, was 
full of wrath ; his anger, however, soon subsided. 

"Well," said he, "I can't grumble, for an apothe- 
cary who pretended to have supplied the jeweller with 
the lozenge, and who has received from me a letter 
belauding the nostrum, has undertaken in return to 
dispose of forty pounds' worth of tickets for my 
benefit." 

On the occasion of this, or some other benefit, he could 
not refrain from going every morning to the box-office 
2 c 



386 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

to see how many places were taken ; and a week before 
the last, observing the names to be few besides those of 
his own private friends, he said to the box-keeper, 

Brandon, "D it, Jem, if the nobility don't come 

forward, I shall cut but a poor figure this time." 

" Don't be afraid," said Brandon ; "I dare say we 
shall do a good deal for you to-day. " 

" I hope so," replied Incledon, "and as I go home to 
dinner I will look in again." 

Incledon, who was not very familiar with Debretfs 
Peerage, returning at five o'clock in the afternoon, 
hastened to the book, and read aloud the following 
fictitious names, which Brandon, by way of a joke, 
had put down in his absence: "The Marquis of 
Piccadilly," "The Duke of Windsor." 

" Ah, ha ! " exclaimed Incledon, " that must be one 
of the Royal Family." 

"Lord Highgate"— "The Bishop of Gravesend." 
"Well," said he to Brandon, quite delighted, "if we 
get on as well to-morrow as we have to-day, I shall 
have a number of distinguished titles present." 

Parke says of him: "Amongst other singularities, 
Incledon was restless, and could not stay long in a 
place. Having, with his wife, dined at my house, in 
the evening, whilst the party were engaged at cards, 
he absented himself for a considerable time ; and, Mrs. 
Incledon noticing it particularly, I was induced to go 
and look for him. Tracing him by his voice, I found 
him in the kitchen, helping the maids to pick parsley, 
which was preparing for supper." 

Parke adds : " As a ballad singer he was unrivalled, 
and his manner of singing sea songs, particularly 
Gay's 'Black-eyed Susan,' 'The Storm,' by Alex- 
ander Stevens, and Shield's 'Heaving of the Lead,' 
can only be appreciated by those who have heard him. 



CHARLES INCLEDON 387 

"Though he evinced a strong propensity to wine, 
he never appeared to be intoxicated by it. Dining 
with a party at his house, where he had just recovered 
from a very severe indisposition, and was, as he said, 
advised by his physician to be very abstemious, he 
sometimes after dinner, while his friends were drinking 
port wine, had a second black bottle placed before him, 
which I conceived to contain some very light beverage 
suited to his case, till he said to me in an under tone, 
' Bill, take a glass of this,' pointing to his black bottle, 
which I did, and found it to be Madeira." 

During the summer Incledon made provincial tours, 
giving entertainments moulded on those of Dibdin, 
and these were very successful financially. 

After quitting Covent Garden he performed at con- 
certs and in minor theatres. In 1817 he sailed for 
America, where he was received with great enthusiasm, 
and realized handsome profits. 

His last appearance in London was under Ellison at 
Drury Lane in 1820, and his last appearance on any 
stage was at Southampton, where he had first appeared 
behind the footlights. This was on October 20th in 
the same year. He resided towards the end of his days 
at Brighton, where he was afflicted with a slight 
paralytic affliction, from the effects of which he re- 
covered ; and in February, 1826, being at Worcester, 
he experienced a second attack, which proved fatal, 
and he died on February 14th in the sixty-eighth year 
of his age. His remains were conveyed from Worcester 
to Highgate, where they were interred. 



THE MURDER OF RICHARD 
CORYTON 

RICHARD CORYTON, eldest son of Peter 
Coryton of West Newton Ferrers, in the 
parish of S. Mellion, had married Ann, 
>- daughter of Richard Coode, of Morval, and 
by her had three sons, Peter, Richard, and John. 

Peter, the grandfather, died on 24th March, 1551, 
but his son Richard died a violent death in a tragic 
manner in 1565. Peter, the younger and heir ap- 
parent, was intent on marrying Jane, the daughter 
of John Wrey, of Northrussell, but for some reason 
unexplained his father Richard took a violent dis- 
like to the proposed daughter-in-law, and when his 
son persisted in desiring to have her as his wife, the 
father flew into a violent passion and swore that if he 
took her he would disinherit him of all the lands he 
could, and would give to him only a younger son's 
portion, constituting Richard head of the family. 

Peter remained firm — he was then in London at the 
Court, and the father at once made ready to leave 
Newton Ferrers and take his journey to London and 
disinherit his son if he found that the marriage was 
still insisted on. But on the eve of his starting, as he 
was walking in the grounds of Newton Ferrers, he was 
suddenly fallen upon by two scoundrels named Bartlett 
and Baseley, who owed him a grudge over some matter 
that is not mentioned, and they cut his throat. 

388 



THE MURDER OF RICHARD CORYTON 389 

Bartlett and Baseley were apprehended and brought 
to Launceston before the sheriff. M r. Trevanion, and 
were found guilty ; but he cobld not believe that they 
were revenging some private wrong, and as the matter 
of dispute between father and son was well known, and 
it was known as well that Richard was about to disin- 
herit his eldest son, a strong suspicion was entertained 
by Trevanion that the murder had been committed at 
the instigation of the son, and he gave the men 
hopes of a reprieve — if not of a pardon — if they would 
reveal the name of the man who had urged them to 
commit this dreadful crime. He behaved, it must be 
seen, in a most unfair manner, hinting his suspicions 
to the two wretches and giving them no peace till they 
declared that they had been set on by Mr. Peter Coryton 
to murder his father. 

As Peter Coryton was in town, the two criminals 
were sent to Newgate to be confronted with him there. 
Whether he was arrested on the charge of having 
instigated the murder of his father does not appear, 
but it is probable. 

However, if that were the case, his detention was not 
for long, as both murderers recanted when in London. 
The following curious deed of "Evidence concerning 
the murder of Mr. Coryton" is preserved in Pentillie 
Castle. 

"To all true Xtian people to whom this present 
writing shall come, or shall see, hear or read, Sir 
Richard Champion, Knt., Lord Mayor, and the Alder- 
men of the City of London send greeting in our Lord 
God everlasting. 

" Forasmuch as among other, the great and mani- 
fold deeds and works of piety and charity, the witness- 
ing and declaration of the truth of all matters in 
question, ambiguity or doubt is not to be accounted the 



390 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

least, but rather as a choice virtue and means whereby 
the truth, tho' many times suppressed for a season, 
doth the rather appear brought forth into the sight and 
knowledge of men is with the choicest to be embraced, 
extolled, and commended. 

" We therefore, the said Lord Mayor and Aldermen, 
do signify and declare unto all your honours and wor- 
ships, unto whom it shall appertain, and to every of the 
same, that the days of the date of these presents here- 
under written, there did appear and come personally 
before us, the said Mayor and Aldermen, in the 
Queen's Majesty's Court, holden before the said Lord 
Mayor and Aldermen, in the outer chamber of the 
Guildhall of the said City, the Deponents hereunder 
named, who, upon their own free will, without any 
manner of coercion and constraint, upon their corpor- 
ate oaths upon the holy evangelists of Almighty God, 
then and there severally before us taken and made and 
exactly examined by one of the clerks of the said Court, 
said and deposed in all things as hereafter word for 
word ensueth. 

^^ John Philpott, clerk. Parson of S. Michael in Corn- 
hill of London, aged 29 years or thereabout, deposed, 
sworn and examined, the day hereunder written, saith 
and deposeth upon his oath that on the ninth of 
November last, upon a Saturday, about four of the 
clock in the afternoon, but what day of the week it 
was he doth not now remember — this examinate was 
required by Mr. Howes, one of the S|ieriffs of London, 
and in the name of the other sheriff, itKaThe would go 
unto Newgate, and there to examine one Rafe Bartlett, 
prisoner within the same place, who was then very 
sick and like to die, to the intent to understand of him 
whether one Peter Curryngton, whom before he had 

' John Rivers and James Howes were sheriffs. 



THE MURDER OF RICHARD CORYTON 391 

accused for the murder of his own father, were culpable 
therein or no. Whereupon this examinate went to the 
said gaol of Newgate, and by the way he did meet 
with two ministers, the one named Edward Wilkinson, 
and the other John Brown, whom he desired to go 
with him, who went with him accordingly, and coming 
to the aforesaid gaol of Newgate, he desired the keeper 
that they might talk with the said Bartlett, and the 
said keeper went down with them into the prison, and 
brought them unto him, and there finding him very 
sore sick, persuaded with him, for that he was more 
like to die than live, in discharge of his conscience, 
as he would answer before God, to declare unto them 
whether that the aforesaid Peter Curryngton, whom 
he had accused to be privy and procurer of him and 
one Baseley to do the same murder were true Yea 
or No. 

" Whereupon he confessed and said that he had most 
untruly accused the said Peter Curryngton, for he was 
never privy, nor knew of it, but that it was he himself 
and the said Baseley, without the knowledge of any 
other, and declared the cause why they had so accused 
him was, for that after they were found guilty for the 
same matter, the Sheriff of C ornwall did examine them 
if there were any other privy or procuring to the same 
murder ; and they agreed together to the intent to pre- 
serve their lives, or at the least to prolong the same, 
falsely to accuse the said Peter Curryngton ; and the 
same Bartlett showed himself very sorry and repentant 
for his said accusation, saying, ' Think you that Mr. 
Curryngton will forgive me ? ' 

"And this examinate answered him, 'There is no 
doubt he will, for otherwise he is not of God." Where- 
with he seemed to be satisfied. And this examinate saith 
that the said Bartlett died within two or three days 



392 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

after ; and going from him up the stairs, he, the exam- 
inate and the others were brought unto the aforesaid 
Baseley, who confessed and declared unto them in 
everything the innocency of the said Peter Curryngton, 
concerning the same murder, and that it was he and the 
said Bartlett that committed the same without the know- 
ledge or consent of any other ; and that they did 
accuse him for the purpose afore alleged, by the said 
Bartlett, and more in effect this examinate cannot say. 
*^ Edward Wilkinson of London, Clerk, Parson of the 
parish church of S. Antonine in London, aged 33 years 
or thereabout, deposed, sworn and examined, the said 
day and year hereunder written, saith and deposeth 
upon his oath, about November last, the exact time the 
examinate reraembereth not, he did meet one Mr. 
Philpott, parson of S. Michael in Cornhill, in Cheap- 
side, who desired this examinate that he would go 
back with him to Newgate, who did so, and by the way 
as they went, they met with Master Brown, a minister, 
who likewise went with them to Newgate, and the 
deposition of the foresaid Mr. Philpott, being unto 
him read, and he, well perusing and understanding the 
same, saith and deposeth that all the matter declared 
and spoken by the said Bartlett, as it is contained in 
the deposition of the said Master Philpott, is very true 
in all things, and was spoken in the presence and 
hearing of this examinate, and further, this examinate 
saith that the words likewise spoken and declared by 
the said Baseley, named in the said deposition of the 
said Master Philpott, are likewise very true, and were 
in the presence and hearing of this examinate. And 
further, this examinate saith that he did persuade and 
exhort the said Baseley, saying unto him, ' Take good 
heed that you do not lie. You have already murdered 
one, you have falsely accused another, and you seem to 



THE MURDER OF RICHARD CORYTON 393 

slander the Sheriff (of Cornwall).' And the said Baseley 
answered, ' The truth is, Master Sheriff bade me devise 
some way to save myself, and I said I could not tell 
how, — and he said the way (to do so) was to accuse some 
other. And he examined me whether there was any one 
privy or procuring the said murder, beside ourselves, 
saying unto me, " You could not do it alone. There be 
divers of the Curryngtons, Was there none of them 
privy or consenting to the same? You are best to 
advise and consider yourself, for the telling the truth 
in accusation of others, might be the way to save their 
(i.e. your own) lives." Whereupon I returned to the 
said Bartlett and conferred with him, and we did agree 
together falsely to accuse Peter Curryngton, for the 
saving of our own lives ' ; which accusation was untrue, 
and that the said Peter Curryngton was very ignorant 
and innocent of the same murder ; and that he was sorry 
and did repent that he had accused him untruly. And 
more he cannot say. 

^^ Edmund Marner, citizen of London and keeper 
of the Gaol of Newgate, aged forty-five years or there- 
about, deposed, etc. . . . saith and deposeth upon his oath 
that the 15th day of November last past, being Saturday, 
John Philpott, clerk, etc., Edward Wilkinson and John 
Brown, ministers, came to the gaol of Newgate from 
the Sheriff of London, by a token, to this examinate, 
to speak with one Rafe Bartlett, prisoner there, being 
very sore sick." 

The deposition of the gaoler was merely a confirma- 
tion of what had been deposed by the two previous 
witnesses. 

" William Margytte, of London, Clerk, Reader of 
the Morning Prayer in the Parish of S. Sepulchre, 
and Ordinary for the Bishop of London, of the gaol 
of Newgate, aged forty years, deposed, sworn, and 



394 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

examined, etc., that about September last past, one 
Richard Baseley, then being prisoner in Newgate, and 
very sore sick, and like to die, did send for this ex- 
aminate, to speak with him, and this examinate coming 
unto him, he said, ' This is the cause that I send for 
you. I am very sore sick, and more like to die than 
to live, and I think I shall not escape this sicknesse, 
and if I do, yet I must die for the law, for I and 
one of my neighbours did murder Master Curryngton, 
which I do not much repent. But the very cause that 
I sent for you is to be a means to Peter Curryngton, 
his son, whom I have accused to be privy and pro- 
curing of the same murder, that he would forgive me, 
for I have falsely accused him. For as I trust to be 
saved by Christ, he is utterly ignorant of the same 
murder, and there was none privy to the same but he, 
the said Baseley himself, and the said Bartlett, who 
committed the same.' And this examinate demanded 
of him why he did accuse Peter Curryngton. And he 
said that the cause was that after they were found 
guilty of the murder, Mr. Trevannyon, Sheriff of 
Cornwall, came unto and examined him, as to who was 
privy to the murder more than they ; saying that they 
being so simple would not do the same without assist- 
ance ; saying further that if he would confess the truth 
as to who helped or procured them to do the same, he 
would cause his chain to be stricken off, and carry 
him home with him at night, and would save his life, 
though it cost him (sum illegible), and thereupon in 
hope of life he did accuse the said Peter Curryngton 
falsely and wrongfully ; and thereupon he said he 
would take his death. And the examinate, persuading 
him and advising him to repent and be sorry for the 
murder of the said Curryngton, calling to God heartily 
for mercy and forgiveness of the same. Which in the 



THE MURDER OF RICHARD CORYTON 395 

end with much ado he seemed to be sorry for . . . and 
also the examinate went into the same gaol at Newgate, 
to speak to Roll Bartlett, to understand whether it 
were true what the said Baseley had confessed ; who 
declared unto the examinate, as he should answer 
before God, that Peter Curryngton was never privy 
nor of consent to the murder of his father, and that 
there was none privy or knew it but only he and the 
said Baseley ; and the cause why they did kill him was 
for that he had misused them many ways, and also, 
they thought no man would be sorry for his death. 
And this examinate demanded of him the cause where- 
fore he did accuse the said Peter Curryngton, he 
answered, 'The fair promises of the Sheriff, and to 
the interest to preserve their lives, or, at least, to pro- 
long them, was the only cause,' etc. 

" In faith and testimony whereof we the said Mayor 
and Aldermen, — the common seal of our office of 
Mayoralty of the said city, to these presents, have caused 
to be put, written at the said city of London on the 23rd 
day of May, 1566, in the eighth year of the reign of our 
most gracious and benign Sovereign Lady Elizabeth, 
etc., etc." 

It would appear that the murdered man had been not 
only a dragon in his house, but also in the entire 
neighbourhood, oppressing his tenants and disliked 
by the gentry. It is hard not to suspect that Sir Hugh 
Trevanion of Carhayes, who was then Sheriff of 
Cornwall, bore a personal grudge against Peter 
Coryton. 

Peter, all obstacle to his marriage being removed, 
married the lady of his choice, and by her had three 
sons and six daughters. He died the 13th August, 1603. 

The murderer Baseley died in Newgate, but Bartlett 
was sent back to Launceston and there hanged. 



396 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

But this is not the "end of this shocking affair," for 
eighty years after the murder, John Coryton, of Probus, 
laid claim to the estates of the then John Coryton, of 
Newton Ferrers, on the plea that Peter had forfeited 
all rights to the inheritance because he had murdered 
his father. 

"To the Right Hon. Houses of Parliament, now 
sitting at Westminster. 

The Humble Petition of John Coryton of the parish of 
Probus, in the County of Cornwall, gent., a great 
sufferer for and in his Majesty's cause. 
Humbly sheweth — 

That yo' petitioner was and is the son of Scipio 
Coryton, and Scipio was son of John, and John was son 
of Richard Coryton, Esq., of West Newton Ferrers 
in the said county of Cornwall, who about eighty 
years since was most barbarously murdered by two 
fellows who were maintained by the said Richard 
Coryton, without any cause or hurt to them, and that 
the said Richard having three sons, viz. Peter, the 
firstborn, Richard the second, John the third, your 
petitioner's grandfather. The said Peter his firstborn 
would have married with one Mr. Wrey's daughter, to 
w** his father would not consent, but threatened his 
said son that if he should marry with her that he w'' 
disinherit him of all the lands he could. And that he, 
the said Peter, his firstborn, should have but a younger 
son's portion. The said Peter, his firstborn, insisted in 
the same match by continuing his suit to her. Being 
at the Court in London, his said father purposing his 
journey for London the Thursday following, to effect 
his said purpose of disinheriting his said son. The said 
Mr. Wrey living about those parts of West Newton 
Ferrers. The Tuesday before walking in part of his 



THE MURDER OF RICHARD CORYTON 397 

said barton of West Newton, was set upon by these 
two fellows (their names were Hartley and Baselly) and 
cruelly murdered by cutting of his throat. The fellows 
were taken and the one died in prison, or was made away 
with, the other was brought to Launceston and there 
hanged without any confession of who set them on. 
One of the said Mr. Wrey's sons (viz.) Edmund, was 
seen at the place of execution with a black box under his 
arm in the sight of the malefactor, who was cast down 
without any confession. These murderers being gone, 
the said Peter married the said Mr. Wrey's daughter, 
and entered as heir on his father's estate with about 
;^2000 per annum, his said brothers having nothing ; 
he gave a living to Richard, his said brother, during 
his life. But your petitioner's grandfather, knowing of 
the wrong done him, would not take his brother's small 
pittance, for he always said that he had right to a 
greater part of the estate than he would give him. 
Your petitioner's grandfather marrying a gentlewoman 
who had a small fortune, went to law with his said 
brother for his part of the estate, but being not able to 
contend with him by reason of his small ability and the 
other's greatness, was forced to give over. And he con- 
tinually keeped all the estate to the impoverishing of 
your petitioner's grandfather, and they that defended 
him. And your petitioner's father being not able to 
contend with him by reason of his poverty, leaving me, 
his son, in like case, being not able any other way to 
seek his right, but by petitioning to your Honours ; 
your petitioner being impoverished and brought very 
low by following his Majesty's service all along the war 
in England and Ireland, and with His Highness Prince 
Rupert in France also, and other parts where your 
petitioner received many cruel wounds and many im- 
prisonments, which I forbare to relate for burden and 



398 



CORNISH CHARACTERS 



trouble to your Honours, your petitioner and his wife 
being no longer able to subsist. 

"These premises considered, your poor petitioner 
humbly begs your Honours that you will be pleased 
to call John Coryton, Esq., of West Newton Ferrers, 
the possessor of the said estates, before your Honours ; 
or where your Honours shall think fit, to show cause 
why your petitioner hath not an inheritance of his said 
father's estate, which hath been so long kept from 
him, and his said father, and your petitioner shall 
pray, etc." 

The pedigree was as follows : — 

Richard Coryton=Anne, dau. of Rich'' 
murdered 1565. Coode of Morval. 



Jane: 
da. of John 
Wrey. d. 1618. 



I 
Peter Coryton. 
d. 13 Aug., 
1602. 



Richard C. 
2nd son. 



William C.= 



Eliz. dau. of Sir 
John Chichester 
of Rawleigh. 



Sir John Coryton=Anne, da. of J. Mills 



■bp. July 24, 162 1 ; 
bur. Aug-. 23, 1680. 
Bart. 1661. 



of Colebrook. 
bp. 29 Nov., 1620; 
ra. 27 Dec, 1643; 
d. 27 Sept., 1677. 



John C. 
3rd son. 



Scipio C. 



John Coryton 
of Probus. 



One little incident may be noted : Richard Coryton, 
who was murdered, was one of twenty-four children. 

John Coryton of Probus got nothing by his applica- 
tion. 



SIR JAMES TILLIE, KNT. 

HIGH above the Tamar where it is most tor- 
tuous, and commanding loop upon loop 
of this beautiful river, with the blue 
bank of Dartmoor standing up in the east 
as a rising thundercloud, stands a red -brick tower 
upon an elevated platform, that is reached by a flight 
of stone steps. 

On the east side of this tower is a recess in the thick- 
ness of the wall, with stone benches, and at the back, 
high up, is a little window formed of two slits, through 
which the interior can be seen only by putting one foot 
on the bench and the other on a projecting corbel in 
the wall. What is then revealed is an interior open to 
the sky, and with a statue of a seated man, life size, 
opposite, in wig and lace steenkirk, one hand resting 
on his knee and the other on the arm of his chair. 

There is no door of admission into the tower ; a 
doorway has been bricked up. Formerly the tower 
consisted of two storeys, with a floor above the square 
chamber in which is the statue, and a roof over the 
upper apartment. But roof and floor have gone. 

In the summer of 1907 the walled-up doorway had to 
be opened, so that a large tree might be cut down that 
had grown in the midst of the tower and threatened it 
with injury. No sooner was it bruited about that 
access to the interior was to be had than crowds of 
visitors came out from Plymouth and Devonport, 
expecting to be able to find within some relics of 

399 



400 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Sir James Tillie, Bart., whose burial-place was the 
lower chamber, where now is only to be seen his statue. 

Hals says, the spelling modernized : " About the 
year 1712 Sir James Tillie died, and, as I am in- 
formed, by his last will and testament obliged his 
adopted heir, one Woolley, his sister's son, not only 
to assume his name (having no legitimate issue), 
but that he should not inter his body after death in 
the earth, but fasten it in the chair where he died 
with wire — his hat, wig, rings, gloves, and best 
apparel on, shoes and stockings, and surround the 
same with an oak chest, box, or cofSn, in which his 
books and papers should be laid, with pen and ink 
also — and build for the reception thereof, in a certain 
field of his lands, a walled vault or grot, to be arched 
with moorstone, in which repository it should be laid 
without Christian burial ; for that, as he said but an 
hour before he died, in two years space he would be at 
Pentillie again ; over this vault his heir likewise was 
obliged to build a fine chamber, and set up therein the 
picture of him, his lady, and adopted heir, for ever ; 
and at the end of this vault and chamber to erect a 
spire or lofty monument of stone, from thence for 
spectators to overlook the contiguous country, Ply- 
mouth Sound and Harbour; all which, as I am told, 
is accordingly performed by his heir, whose successors 
are obliged to repair the same for ever out of his lands 
and rents, under penalty of losing both. 

" However, I hear lately, notwithstanding this his 
promise of returning in two years to Pentillie, that 
Sir James's body is eaten out with worms, and his 
bones or skeleton fallen down to the ground from the 
chair wherein it was seated, about four years after it 
was set up ; his wig, books, wearing apparel, also 
rotten in the box or chair where it was first laid." 




SIR JAMES TILI.IE, KNT. 



SIR JAMES TILLIE, KNT. 401 

The lower chamber, not underground, in which Sir 
James was seated was not vaulted over as he directed. 
The portraits in the upper chamber have been removed 
to Pentillie Castle, where they may now be seen. 

But, as already intimated, the statue was erected 
where the body was, and beneath it is the inscrip- 
tion : — 

This Monument is erected 

In Memory 

of 

S" James Tillie kn' who dyed 

15 of Nov' 

Anno Domini 1713 

And in y° 67"^ year of his Age. 

It is thought — but no evidence exists to show that it 
was so — that the bones of Sir James were collected by 
Mary Jemima, the last of the Tillie family and the 
heiress who carried Pentillie to the Coryton family 
about 1770, and transferred to the churchyard of S. 
Mellion. When the chamber was entered recently and 
the tree cut down and eradicated, no traces of the dead 
man could be found. 

Hals, in his MS. History of Corn-mail, says: " Pen- 
tyley a hous and church built by one Mr. James Tyley, 
son of ... in ye parish of S. Keverne, labourer as 
I am inform'd." The father's name was John. "And 
was placed by him a servant or horseman to S'"" John 
Coryton, Bart., the Elder, who afterwards by his 
assistance learning the inferiour practice of the Lawe 
under an Atturney, became his Steward, in which 
caracter by his Care and Industry he soon grew Rich, 
soe that he marryed Sir Henry Vane's daughter ; by 
whome he had a good fortune or estate, but noe issue ; 
at Length after the Death of his Master (1680) he be- 
came a Guardian in Trust for his younger children, and 
2 D 



402 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Steward to their elder Brother, Sir John, that marryed 
Chiverton, whereby he augmented his wealth and fame 
to a greater pitch. When, soon after, King James H 
came to the Crown, this gentleman by a great sume of 
money and false representation of himselfe obtained 
the favour of knighthood at his hands, but that Kinge 
some short while after beinge inform'd that Mr. Tyley 
was at first but a Groome or Horseman to Sir John Cory- 
ton, that he was no Gentleman of Blood or armes, and 
yet gave for his Coat-armour the armes of Count Tillye 
of Germany, ordered the Heraulds to enquire into this 
matter ; who findinge this information trew, by the 
King's order entered his Chamber at London, tooke 
downe those arms, tore others in pieces, and fastened 
them all to Horse tayles and drew them through the 
streets of London, to his perpetuall Disgrace, and dis- 
graced him from the dignity of that beinge, and impps'd 
a fyne of ;^500 upon him for so doing, as I am inform'd 
— but alas, maugre all those proceedings, after the death 
of his then Master, Sir John Coryton the Younger, not 
without suspicion of being poysoned, he soon marryed 
his Lady, with whome Common fame said he was too 
familiar before, soe that he became possest of her 
goods and chattels, and a great Joynture. Whereby 
he liveth in much pleasure and comfort in this place, 
honour'd of some, lov'd of none ; admiring himself for 
the Bulk of his Riches and the Arts and Contrivances 
by which he gott it — some of which were altogether un- 
lawfull, witness his steward, Mr. Elliott, being credited 
for a mint and coyning false money for his use ; who 
on notice thereof forsooke this Land, and fled beyond 
the Seas, though the other Agent and Confederate, 
Cavals Popjoye, indicted for the same crime of High 
Treason committed at Saltash, was taken, tryed and 
found guilty and executed at Lanceston, 1695, at which 



SIR JAMES TILLIE, KNT. 403 

tyme the writer of these Lynes was one of the Grand 
Jury for the body of this County, that found those 
Bills — when William Williams of Treworgy in Probus 
Esq. was sheriff, and John Waddon, Esq., foreman of 
the Jury." 

After this, written at a later date, comes the passage 
relative to the burial arrangements of Sir James, 
already quoted. 

With regard to the above statement, a few remarks 
may be made. Sir John Coryton died in 1680, just 
after he had obtained a licence for concluding a second 
marriage with Anne Wayte, of Acton, widow. 

His son, Sir John, married Elizabeth, daughter and 
co-heiress of Sir Richard Chiverton, Kt, Lord Mayor 
of London, and a wealthy skinner. Sir James Tillie's 
first wife was Margaret, daughter of Sir Harry Vane, 
the Parliamentarian, who was executed in 1662. Tillie 
was knighted at Whitehall, 14th January, 1686-7, ^"^ 
he built Pentillie Castle. In one of the quadrangles of 
the castle is a leaden statue of the knight with flowing 
wig, a roll of papers in one hand like the baton of a 
field-marshal, and with preternaturally short legs. 

In Luttrell's Brief Relation of State Affairs there is 
some mention of the affair of the assumed arms. He 
says, under date November 26th, 1687: "Sir James 
Tillie of Cornwall was brought up upon an habeas 
corpus, being committed by the Court of Chivalry for 
refusing to find bail there, and was remanded. 

"January 19th, 1687-8. The Court of Chivalry satt, 
and fined Sir James Tilly £icxi for his crime." 

Hals, accordingly, was wrong in saying that he was 
fined ;^5oo. 

Hals thinks (he does no more) that Sir James was 
mixed up in the coining business. If he got rich by 
nefarious practices, it was probably by filling his 



404 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

pockets out of the Coryton estates, of which he was 
steward under two of the baronets. 

Sir James Tillie's will by no means carries with it 
the character of impiety attributed to it by Hals. It is 
headed: "Dei voluntas fiat, at mei hac performet." In 
it he mentions the date of his birth, November i6th, 
1645. It is a very long will, and in it he laboured 
in every conceivable way to found a family. As he 
had no children of his own, he made his eldest nephew 
heir, but in the event of his dying without issue, then 
his estates passed to his second, and so on. At the end 
he wrote: " I desire my Body may have a private inter- 
ment at and in such a place in Pentillie Castle as I have 
acquainted my dearest wife, the Lady Elizabeth Tillie, 
with, and to have such monument erected and inscrip- 
tion thereon made as I have desired my said wife." 

The paper of instructions left with her is still extant ; 
of that more presently. He proceeds: "Although I 
have made a provision for my said wife out of my 
Lands, yet in regard to her kindness to me whilst 
living, and that tenderness to my memory which I know 
she will have after my death, for the uses hereinafter 
mentioned, I give and bequeath unto my said wife all 
her Paraphaanalia [sic], apparell, Jewells and ornaments 
of her Person, all the Books, China, Portraits and 
Toyes in her Closett at Pentillie Castle, my Coach, 
Chariott, Calash and set of six horses with two such of 
my other Horses and Cowes as shall please her to elect, 
and also a Hundred Guineas in money for her life and 
then for her grandchildren. 

"To Altmira Tillie go the ;^5oo payable on the day 
of marriage with either one of my said nephews. But 
on her marriage with any other my will is that she shall 
have only ;^25o. 

"To my Cousin Mary Mattock ;^5o to be paid on 



SIR JAMES TILLIE, KNT. 405 

her marriage Day with any other than William Parkes, 
but on her marriage with him this legacy is to be void. 

" Then I give unto my said Wife fifty pounds for my 
ffunerall desireing four of my ancientest workmen may 
lay me in my grave, unto whom I give fforty shillings 
apiece. And to William Trenaman ten pounds. And 
to my honest Richard Lawreate in Meate and Drink 
for his owne person to the value of Two shillings and 
sixpence per weeke at Pentillie during his Life. To my 
domestique servants living with me at my Death fforty 
shillings each, To Samuel Holman his Tooles, and to 
John Long a joynt of Mutton weekly during his Life, as 
I have done. In witness thereof I have hereunto sett my 
hand and seal this 22nd day of March, 1703/4, etc." 

One very curious and most unusual feature in the 
proving of this will was that the original was handed 
over to James Tillie, the nephew, in place of an attested 
copy, and only a copy retained in the Consistory Court. 

As Sir James had no right to bear arms, his nephew, 
James Tillie, obtained a grant from the Heralds' Col- 
lege, November ist, 1733. The arms given him were as 
follows : Arg., a cross fleury gules, in chief three eagles^ 
heads couped, sable; and as a crest, on a wreath of the 
colours, a demi-phaenix rising out of fiames ppr. and 
charged on the breast with a cross fleury sa. 

The memorandum referred to by Sir James in his 
will, containing instructions as to his burial, is still 
extant, and it is by no means as extravagant as repre- 
sented by Hals. 

Gilpin, in his Observations on the West Parts of 
England, 1798, gave currency to the story as amplified 
by tradition, and thenceforth it was generally accepted 
and obtained currency. 

Gough, in his Camden's Britannia, 1789, says : "In 
the rocks of Whitsand Bay, Tilly, Esq., who died 



4o6 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

about fifty years ago, remarkable for the freedom of 
his principles and life, was inclosed by his own order, 
dressed in his clothes, sitting, his face to the door 
of a summer-house at Pentelly, the key put under the 
door, and his figure in wax, in the same dress and 
attitude in the room below." 

Gough makes several mistakes. Pentillie is a great 
many miles from Whitsand Bay, and he was placed 
not among rocks, but on the summit of a hill called 
Ararat. The figure carved in the attitude in which 
placed to rest is in sandstone, and not in wax ; and 
finally it is not in a summer-house, but in a lofty brick 
tower, erected after his death, the bill for the erection 
of which is still in existence. 

Notwithstanding all his schemes to found a family, 
his posterity failed in the male line, and the castle and 
Tillie lands passed as follows : — 



John Tillie, 
labourer, S. Kevern. 

1 



(2) Elizab. 
da. Sir R. Chi- 
verton and 
wid. of Sir 
John Coryton, 



=(i) Margaret=Sir James Tillie. da. =Woolley. 
da. of Sir b. Nov. i6, 1645. 
H. Vane. 



Wm. Goodall=Elizabeth, James Tillie Woolley= Esther . 

da. Sir John als. Tillie, S^ssi& of 
Coryton. Cornwall, 



e, Sheij|tof 

11, ifSST*" 



John Goodall== Margery Major. James Tillie=Mary 



Peter Goodall= 
d. 1756. 



I 



John Coryton==Mary Jemima Tillie. 



John Tillie Coryton. 
b. 1773 ; d. 1843. 




SIR JAMES TILLIE S MONUMENT AT PENTII.LIE 



SIR JAMES TILLIE, KNT. 407 

There was an illustrious and ancient family of Tilly, 
or Tylly, at Cannington, in Somersetshire, deriving 
from a De Tilly in the reign of Henry II, and the parish 
of West Harptree in the same county is divided into 
two manors, one of which is West Harptree-Tilly. 
The arms of this Tilly family were only a dragon erect, 
sable, and as such appear in glass in the windows of 
Cannington Church. 

That Sir James Tillie could claim no descent from 
this family is evident from his not assuming their arms. 
Had the Heralds been able to trace any connection 
whatever, they would have given to the nephew a 
coat resembling the Tilly arms of Cannington but 
not identical. 

It must be borne in mind that the possession of a 
surname of a noble or gentle family by no means indi- 
cates that the bearer had a drop of that family's blood 
in his veins ; for it was quite a common thing when 
surnames began to be acquired for the domestic servants 
in a house to be called after their master, or that they 
should assume their patronymics, much as in High 
Life Below Stairs the menial servants assume the 
titles of their masters as well as their names. This 
practice was so common that always in the neighbour- 
hood of a great house, that has lived on through many 
centuries, will be found among the villagers in a very 
humble walk of life persons bearing the surname of 
the illustrious family in the castle, the hall, or the 
manor. How a dependent of the Tilly family of Can- 
nington drifted down to the Lizard is not easily ex- 
plained ; it may be that this Tilly was descended from 
one of the regiments that Charles I sent down to the 
Scilly Isles, and which was left there and forgotten. 



LIEUTENANT JOHN HAWKEY 

JOSEPH HAWKEY, of Liskeard, and his wife 
Amye, daughter of the Rev. John Lyne, had 
a numerous family. John was the eldest son, 
born at Liskeard in 1780 ; the other sons were 
William, Joseph, Richard, and Charles. There was also 
a daughter Charlotte, born at Liskeard loth May, 1799. 

Lieutenant Joseph Hawkey, r.n., born at Liskeard in 
1786, was killed in action while commanding a success- 
ful attack on a Russian flotilla in the Gulf of Finland 
in 1809. 

John also entered the navy, as midshipman in the 
Minerva. A few months after the renewal of the war 
in 1803 he was taken prisoner whilst gallantly defending 
that ship, when she was unfortunately run by the pilot, 
during a dense fog, on the west point of the stone 
dyke of Cherbourg. Hawkey remained in captivity 
at Verdun for eleven years, till 18 14. 

A commission of lieutenant had been sent out to him 
by mistake to the West Indies, which being dated 
previous to his capture was not cancelled, but forwarded 
to him in France, and was thus the means in some 
degree of alleviating the evils of captivity. Whilst 
at Verdun he made the acquaintance of Lieutenant 
Tuckey, r.n., a person like himself a prisoner, and 
like him of fine taste and considerable talents. 

His prospects had been cruelly clouded by his long 
detention in captivity, and on the conclusion of peace 
he at once joined the Cyrus, sloop of war ; but when 

408 



LIEUTENANT JOHN HAWKEY 409 

the Government proposed to send out an expedition to 
explore the Zaire or Congo, and appointed Tuckey in 
command, Lieutenant Hawkey eagerly accepted the 
invitation of his friend to join him and act as second 
in command. 

At this time little was known of the Congo and the 
Niger. Hitherto what was known was due to Arabian 
writers of the Middle Ages, and to what leaked out 
from the Portuguese ; but these latter, who carried on 
an extensive slave trade thence, did their utmost to 
keep their knowledge of these rivers to themselves. 
But even they were not well acquainted with the rivers 
far up from their mouths. Mungo Park was preparing 
for his second expedition to explore the Niger, and it 
was even supposed that the Congo or Zaire that flows 
into the South Atlantic was an outlet of the Niger, and 
not an independent river ; and this opinion was warmly 
expounded by Park in a memoir addressed to Lord 
Camden previous to his departure from England, and 
he added that, if this should turn out to be a fact, ' ' con- 
sidered in a commercial point of view, it is second only 
to the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope ; and, in a 
geographical point of view, it is certainly the greatest 
discovery that remains to be made in this world." 

On March 19th, 1816, the Congo, accompanied by the 
Dorothy transport, sailed on a voyage of exploration to 
the Zaire. The Congo was about ninety tons, schooner 
rigged, and drew five feet of water. She was fitted up 
entirely for the accommodation of officers and men, 
and for the reception of the objects of natural history 
which might be collected on her progress up the river. 
The gentlemen engaged on the expedition, in the 
scientific department, were : Professor Smith, of Chris- 
tiania, botanist and geologist ; Mr. Tudor, comparative 
anatomist ; Mr. Cranch, collector of objects of natural 



4IO CORNISH CHARACTERS 

history ; and a gardener to gather plants and seeds for 
Kew ; also Mr. Galway, a gentleman volunteer. There 
were two negroes, who would serve as interpreters, 
one of whom came from eight hundred miles up 
the Zaire. The officers were : Captain Tuckey, 
Lieutenant Hawkey, Mr. Fitzmaurice, master and sur- 
veyor, Mr. McKernow, assistant surgeon, two mas- 
ter's mates, and a purser. In additon to the Congo, the 
transport took out two double whale-boats, so fitted as 
to be able to carry eighteen to twenty men, with three 
months' provisions. 

Lieutenant Hawkey was an excellent draughtsman ; 
he sketched in a bold and artistic manner, and to a 
general knowledge of natural history he united the 
talent of painting the minutest sea and land animals 
with great spirit and accuracy. 

Although the vessels sailed from Deptford on 
February i6th, they were detained in the Channel and 
at Falmouth by westerly gales till March igth. On 
April gth they reached the Cape de Verd Islands, 
whence he wrote home to his sister Charlotte : — 

" Porto Praya, S. Jago, August nth, 1816. 

" My Angel, — I am just able to hold my pen and 
tell you that I am alive, after being as near death as 
ever mortal being was. The day before yesterday we 
arrived here. Captain Tuckey and myself went to 
wait on the governor, the commissary, and captain 
of the transport, to procure refreshments. We were 
graciously received — saluted by his black guards — took 
a walk in the country — returned, intending to go 
on board to dinner. There is a heavy surf on the 
beach, and squalls are very frequent from the moun- 
tains ; one of which, when we were about a cable's 
length from the shore, upset our boat. I intended 
swimming composedly on shore, but something or 



LIEUTENANT JOHN HAWKEY 411 

some person caught my leg, and I could not by any 
exertion get my head above water. It instantly struck 
me that some one who could not swim had seized me, 
hoping to save himself; and I swam in what I con- 
ceived to be the direction of the shore, under water. 
My senses I preserved as fully as at present. O Lord, 
methought, what pain it was to drown ! What dread- 
ful noise of water in my ears ! I thought my last hour 
was come. Still I struggled violently, but finding it 
impossible to retain my breath longer, I took off my 
hat and held it above the water. A black boy, who 
had swam off with several other, got hold of it, and 
then of me. From that moment all recollection ceased 
until I found myself with my stomach on an empty cask 
on the beach, surrounded by my own party and blacks. 
My sufferings were very acute ; the absolute pain of 
dying — which ceremony I completely underwent — was 
nothing in comparison. The different means pre- 
scribed for the recovery of drowned persons were used ; 
and as soon as possible I was conveyed on board. 
A determination of blood to the head and lungs took 
place ; all night I was in danger ; but it is now going 
fast off, but I am in a state of absolute debility. Cap- 
tain Tuckey says I was more than five minutes under 
water — a longer time than the most experienced divers 
can remain. Note, I was in full uniform — boots, 
sword — and my pockets full of stones and shells I had 
picked up on shore. Captain Tuckey lost his sword ; 
his watch and mine are both spoiled." 

Cape Padrone, at the mouth of the Congo, was 
reached on July 6th. The transport was left a little 
way up, and the party of exploration pushed on up 
the river. The mouth of the Congo was found to be 
about fifteen miles wide. Far inland were seen naked 
hills of sand. Professor Smith wrote in his diary : — 



412 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

"July 7th. — Early this morning the mafock, or 
governor, came on board in two canoes, with his 
retinue. At first his pretensions were very lofty. He 
insisted on being saluted with a discharge of cannon, 
and on observing us going to breakfast declared that 
he expected to be placed at the same table with the 
captain, and endeavoured to make his words sufficiently 
impressive by haughty gesticulations. Sitting on the 
quarter-deck in a chair covered with a flag, his dress 
consisting of a laced velvet cloak, a red cap, a piece 
of stuff round his waist, otherwise naked, with an 
umbrella over his head, though the weather was cold 
and cloudy, he represented the best caricature I ever 
saw. He soon became more moderate on being in- 
formed that the vessels were not belonging to slave 
merchants, but to the King of England, and that our 
object was to trade. In order to give him a proof of 
our goodwill towards him, a gun was discharged and 
a merchant flag hoisted." 

A good many negroes after this came on board. 
They were nearly all nominally Christians. Among 
them was a Catholic priest, who had been ordained at 
Loando. He had been baptized two years before his 
ordination at S. Antonio. 

"The barefooted black apostle, however, had no 
fewer than five wives. A few crosses on the necks of 
the negroes, some Portuguese prayers, and a few 
lessons taught by heart, are the only fruits that re- 
main of the labours (of the Portuguese missionaries) of 
three hundred years." 

Proceeding up the river, threading a tangle of 
islands and sandbanks, the vessels stood off Embonna, 
where they came across an American slaver flying 
Swedish colours. Here there had been several Portu- 
gese slave-dealing ships, but on hearing of the arrival 



LIEUTENANT JOHN HAWKEY 413 

in the river of the English vessels during the night 
they slipped away. 

On July 25th they came to the Fetiche Rock, a mass 
of micaceous granite rising perpendicularly out of 
the river, with eddies and whirlpools at its feet. The 
surface of the rock is covered with sculptured figures, 
which Lieutenant Hawkey drew, and which he managed 
to interpret. 

On July 26th Captain Tuckey and others landed at 
Lombee, a village of a hundred huts, and the king's 
market, and here they went to visit the chenoo, or 
king. 

"Having seated myself," wrote Tuckey, "the 
chenoo made his appearance from behind a mat-screen, 
his costume conveying the idea of Punch in a puppet 
show, being composed of a crimson plush jacket with 
curious gilt buttons, a lower garment in the native 
style in red velvet, his legs muffled in pink sarsenet, 
and a pair of red morocco half-boots. On his head an 
immense high-crowned hat embroidered with gold, 
and surmounted by a kind of coronet of European 
artificial flowers. Having seated himself on the right, 
a master of the ceremonies with a long staff in his 
hand inquired into the rank of the gentlemen, and 
seated them accordingly. 

"All being seated, I explained to the chenoo, by the 
interpreter, the motives of my mission — stating that 
'the King of England being equally good as he was 
powerful, and having conquered all his enemies and 
made peace in all Europe, he now sent his ships to all 
parts of the world to do good to all people, and to see 
what they wanted and what they had to exchange ; that 
for this purpose I was going up the river, and that, on 
my return to England, English trading vessels would 
bring them the objects necessary to them, and teach 



414 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

them to build houses and make clothes.' These bene- 
volent intentions were, however, far beyond their 
comprehension ; and as little could they be made to 
understand that curiosity was also one of the motives 
of our visit, or that a ship could come such a distance 
for any other purpose but to trade or fight ; and for two 
hours they rung the changes on the questions, Are you 
come to trade? and Are you come to make war? At 
last, however, they appeared to be convinced that I 
came for neither purpose ; and on my assuring them 
that though I did not trade myself I should not meddle 
with the slave traders of any nation, they expressed 
their satisfaction. 

" The keg of spiced rum which I had brought as 
part of my present to the chenoo was now produced, 
together with an English white earthen washhand basin 
covered with dirt, into which some of the liquor was 
poured and distributed to the company, the king say- 
ing he drank only wine, and retiring to order dinner. 
The moment he disappeared, the company began to 
scramble for a sup of the rum ; and one fellow, drop- 
ping his dirty cap into the basin, as if by accident, 
contrived to snatch it out again well soaked, and sucked 
it with great satisfaction." 

Here Captain Tuckey learned that the traders carried 
off on an average two thousand slaves every year. 

Hence, on August 5th, Captain Tuckey, Lieutenant 
Hawkey, and the scientific gentlemen proceeded up 
the river in the double boat, the transport's longboat, 
two gigs, and a punt. In addition to those already 
mentioned were some of the sailors and the inter- 
preters. 

On August loth the expedition reached Noki, where 
the river was rapid and difficult, running between high 
bluffs, and Professor Smith likened it to one of the 



LIEUTENANT JOHN HAWKEY 415 

torrent streams of Norway. On reaching Caran Yel- 
latu progress was arrested by cataracts, and the party 
was forced to quit the boats and push on by land. 
Here one of the interpreters deserted, carrying away 
with him four of the best porters who had been 
engaged at Embonna. 

"Every man I have conversed with," says Tuckey, 
"acknowledges that if the white man did not come for 
slaves the practice of kidnapping would no longer 
exist, and the wars which nine times out of ten result 
from the European slave trade would be proportion- 
ately less frequent. The people at large most assuredly 
desire the cessation of a trade in which, on the con- 
trary, all the great men, deriving a large portion of their 
revenue from the presents it produces, as well as the 
slave merchants, are interested in its continuance." 

At Juga the river again widened, and this was made 
a basis for excursions by land up the river. 

On the loth September Captain Tuckey found it 
impossible to proceed further ; sickness and death were 
making terrible ravages among the party, and it 
became absolutely necessary to relinquish the enter- 
prise and endeavour to make their way back to the 
vessels. On the following day Captain Tuckey's 
journal records that they "had a terrible march — worse 
to us than the retreat from Moscow. " 

Of this return journey we have an account from 
Lieutenant Hawkey's diary. When Sir John Barrow 
published an account of the expedition from the jour- 
nals of Captain Tuckey and Professor Smith the diary 
of Hawkey was not obtainable ; it had been lost, and 
was not recovered for some years; and then, when given 
for publication, was again lost, and only the conclud- 
ing pages were to be found. It shall be given, some- 
what curtailed. 



4i6 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

"September gth. — Our Ultima Thule. Sketched 
by the setting sun the appearance of the river, a thou- 
sand ideas rushing into my mind : the singularity 
of my situation, its contrast with my captivity, and 
equally so with my wishes. Here, probably, my 
travels are to end ; but Heaven knows for what I am 
destined, and I resign myself. Passed a sleepless 
night, and wandered on the beach, wishing, but in 
vain, for sleep. Captain Tuckey ill all night. 

"September loth. — A fine grey morning. Packing 
up for our return — a great assemblage of natives, one 
with a gay red cap. Bought six fowls for an umbrella. 
Dr. Smith sketched our last view of the mighty 
Zaire. Set out and soon found Dawson very sick ; 
obliged to give his arms and knapsack to others, and to 
lead him and give him wine occasionally. Halted at 
Vonke, where I got into a scrape by touching Amaza's 
fetiche, for which, it being ruined, he wanted a fathom 
of chintz, which I gave him. It is forbidden to touch 
a fetiche or to carry fowls with their heads downwards. 
Bought a goat for an umbrella. Bargaining for a 
canoe for the sick and luggage ; procured one, and 
embarked poor Dawson. Tuckey ill ; at Masakka had 
a specimen of African hospitality : Tuckey, fainting 
and ill, could not obtain a drop of palm wine until 
it was paid for exorbitantly. Peter gave the cap from 
his head, and Tuckey his handkerchief and the last 
beads. To his being faint they paid not the least 
regard. About two miles from Sirndia all our guides 
abandoned us. However, we found our way, and on 
our arrival the tent and luggage, just landed. 

"September nth. — Hazy, cloudy; feel a little ill. 
Canoes assembling ; bargained for two for six fathoms 
and four handkerchiefs. A world of trouble with them 
— three strokes of the paddle and stop ; wanted to land 



LIEUTENANT JOHN HAWKEY 417 

us above the rapid ; obliged to threaten to put them 
to death. At last got them to a rapid that stopped us, 
where we landed and again grumbled on. One fellow 
attempted to snatch the piece from Captain Tuckey's 
hand. Met here with some of our old friends, and 
bargained with the man whose canoe was stove on the 
7th to take us to Juga. The bearers are to have two 
fathoms each, and himself a dress. Encamped at 
Bemba Ganga. Broached our last bottle of wine. 

"September 12th. — A grey morning. Bought four 
fowls for two empty bottles, and four more for some 
beads. Embarked in a canoe and set off. About ten 
arrived at Ganga and had to wait for a canoe ; atmo- 
sphere much changed. Hitherto we had found the 
blacks honest enough, but here they gave us specimens 
of being as great thieves as they were cowards. The 
canoe in which the sick men came down was robbed 
of some check and baft (coarse cloth). One fellow 
attempted to steal a carbine. Ben (the black inter- 
preter) lost his greatcoat, which the fellow he trusted 
with it ran away with, and our barometer was stolen in 
the night. Dr. Smith was taken ill here. We en- 
camped in the valley of Demba, where we were assailed 
by ants in myriads, and got no sleep. After dusk we 
were informed that the men whom we had hired at 
Bemba as canoe men had run away. 

"September 13th. — From 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. no 
refreshments excepting earth-nuts, palm-wine, and 
water. However, we persevered, and at dusk reached 
Juga, where we found Butler sick, and had the misery 
of being told that poor Tudor and Cranch were no 
more, Galway despaired of, and many of the crew sick. 
Melancholy enough, God knows, but hold on. Mansa, 
the slave, has deserted with poor Galway's knapsack. 

"September 14th. — Mizzling rain; melancholy morn- 

2 E 



4i8 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

ing. The captain and Dr. Smith sick. Packing up 
for ship. Hodder sets out with ten men and an ad- 
vanced guard. Dr. Smith worse ; decide on removing 
him to-day ; difficulty in getting bearers ; prepared 
hammocks for the sick. At noon both the captain and 
Dr. Smith better ; Dawson rather worse ; get Butler 
into a house. Corporal Middleton arrives with the sad 
news of Galway's death, that of poor Stirling and 
Berry, and a long list of sick. Here I am in the tent. 
Poor Tuckey ill, asleep, or perhaps feigning it to avoid 
conversation. Dr. Smith groaning under a rheumatic 
fever, and his trusty David Lockhart attending him. 
My ideas are wandering round the world, and the only 
consolation is that perhaps it may be the means of my 
seeing my dear European friends sooner than I had 
expected. Five only of the Congo's are capable of duty, 
except the warrant officers. Saturday night. God 
bless you all, my dear, dear friends ! 

"September 15th. — Broke up at Juga, and such a 
scene I never before witnessed, and hope never to wit- 
ness again. As soon as Tuckey was gone, the natives 
rushed in upon us like so many furies, each taking what 
he could get hold of; the things we were obliged to 
abandon. A part of our guides and bearers ran away 
with the things they were to carry, and poor Butler was 
obliged to come away with only two bearers, who 
tottered under him, and who were mocked by their 
compassionate countrymen. I left him near the ravine 
of Bonde, and passed on to Dawson, who was coming 
on pretty well, as he had four bearers and was not very 
heavy. Not far from Vouchin-semnis we were assailed 
with horrid shrieks and cries, and soon saw a dozen 
women, or rather furies, holding their idols towards us, 
rolling their eyes, foaming at the mouth, and making 
the most violent contortions. They had lost some 



LIEUTENANT JOHN HAWKEY 419 

manioc, and were exorcising the thieves. I believe the 
gangam (priest) had accused us of the robbery. We 
continued our march, rather a forced one, to Noki. 
Far different was the night, and far different our feelings, 
on the 23rd of last month ! I was colder than charity, 
and it rained very hard for more than two hours. 

" September i6th. — Started from Juga. Captain and 
party on foot, and Dr. Smith in a hammock. Dr. 
Smith very weak ; obliged to take him out of his ham- 
mock, and William Burton, a marine, carried him on 
his back, up almost precipices, to Banza, where we had 
great difficulty in getting a little water, which was 
only obtained by the double influence of a threat to 
shoot them and a present of some powder. Arrived at 
the beach, where we found all in confusion. No 
canoes to be had, in consequence of a taboo from the 
King of Vinni, who had not received his dues from 
Sanquila, who says, on his side, it is in consequence of 
the commanding officer of the Congo having threatened 
to put some one in irons. Seized the man who appeared 
to be the chief cause of the opposition, and at the same 
time fired at, brought to, and seized five fishing-canoes, 
and shortly after obtained two larger from a creek, 
when we liberated three of the fishermen's canoes and 
the head-man. 

"September 17th. — Preparing for embarkation. Find- 
ing no paddlers come, pressed two men and set out, 
crossing over to the south shore to avoid the whirlpools. 
When we left men were assembling fast on the hills, 
and told us we had killed a man' last night. Beached 
the canoes and ate some goat's flesh. So returned on 
board and reached the Congo. Found our vessel in a 
horrid state of confusion and filth ; stuffed with parrots, 
monkeys, puppies, pigeons, etc. The carpenter cutting 
up the last plank to make coffins. The deck lumbered 



420 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

as when we left her, and not a wind-sail up ! No stock 
on board ; the sick in double boats and tents pitched 
on shore. My cabin filthy as a hog-stye. Passed a 
sleepless night. Dr. Smith very unwell, and Captain 
Tuckey very little better. 

"September i8th.— A little after daylight, Captain 
Tuckey, Dr. Smith, and myself left the Congo. Passed 
M'Bima. The river is very much risen ; eagles hover- 
ing over us all the way down. Arrived on board the 
Dorothy at 3 p.m. Got Dr. Smith to bed ; refreshed 
ourselves, and thought the air here quite reviving, and 
a clean ship the greatest of luxuries. All on board the 
Dorothy had been well, except the carpenter, who was 
convalescent, and a boy who had been up in the long- 
boat, and was in the same state. 

*' September 19th. — Sloop's boat arrived with the 
sick, and Johnson dead. Went on shore with Captain 
Gunther and some of the transport's people, and buried 
him — so putrid that I was obliged to bury him in his 
cot, with all his bedding. 

" September 20th. — Sick improving generally ; trans- 
port getting ready for sea. Congo not in sight. Sent 
skiff to Congo. At 6 p.m. Garth dies. Skiff returns ; 
has left Congo near Augsberg Island. Parrots prevent 
all possibility of sleeping to the sick. 

"September 21st. — Hazy morning. Congo not in 
sight at nine. An oi-der for all parrots to be before the 
fore-hatchway. Buried Garth. Durnford and Burton 
attacked with fever ; Lockhart unwell, and Ben. Two 
of transport's people ill. Jefiferies, fever ; Ben wishes 
to remain at M'Bima. At 6 p.m. Congo and schooner 
anchored here. Dr. Smith appears to be in a stupor. 

" September 22nd.— Close morning. Getting stores, 
etc., from Congo; cleaning her decks ; preparing to get 
her water-tanks filled. Dr. Smith still in a stupor. 



LIEUTENANT JOHN HAWKEY 421 

Sick generally better, except the captain and Parker, 
Weighed with Dorothy and sloop ; beat down with sea- 
breeze. Dr. Smith, poor fellow, dies, quite worn out ; 
in some measure from his own imprudent treatment of 
himself, constantly refusing to follow the doctor's 
advice or to take any medicine ; cold water was his 
only specific. He died without a groan. Mild, affable, 
and learned, it was his greatest pleasure to communi- 
cate information, and to receive it. He had conciliated 
the affections of all his fellow-passengers, and even of 
all the crews of both vessels. Anchored at dark, sloop 
not in sight. Hoisted a light, to be kept up all night. 

"September 23rd. — At night buried the mortal 
remains of Dr. Smith, as silently as possible. No 
sloop in sight ; very uneasy on account of the sick. 
Hot weather ; sprinkled with vinegar ; Tuckey much 
better. Sloop arrives ; reason of not joining before, 
does not beat well. 

" September 24th. — Cloudy morning ; small rain. 
Dorothy sets up her rigging.. Set sail on Dorothy, but 
she could not stem the current, which is very strong. 
The corporal, Middleton, is the only man out of the 
sick list. 

"September 25th. — Cloudy morning; land breeze 
until noon. Two bottles of wine were stolen from the 
sick last night. Congo in sight, and schooner, the 
latter coming up the river; anchored here. Removed 
all the sick from the sloop to the Dorothy. 

" September 26th. — Grey morning. Paid our blacks, 
and as soon as we weighed turned them adrift in the 
large canoe. Weighed and worked round Sharks' 
Point ; felt quite happy .when to the westward of it. 
On the 5th July we entered the Congo, and since then 
thirteen of our party have died and one has been 
drowned. Sick generally better ; seventeen on the list. 



422 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Tuckey hailed for assistance previous to our weighing ; 
talks of giving up charge." 

On September 30th Lieutenant Hawkey enters the 
death of Lethbridge and of Eyre. 

On October ist enters : " Taken very unwell myself — 
universal debility and slight headache. 

" October 2nd. — Cloudy. Standing to the west all 
day. Very unwell. 

" October 3rd.— Cloudy, with swell. Still very 
unwell. Swallow caught." 

This is the last entry in the diary. On the day 
following Captain Tuckey died ; and on October 6th 
Lieutenant Hawkey's own name was added to the fatal 
list of those who perished in this most disastrous expe- 
dition. In all eighteen died in the short space of less 
than three months during which they remained in the 
river, or within a few days after leaving it. Fourteen 
of these were of the party that had set out on the land 
journey above Juga ; the other four were attacked on 
board the Congo; two had died on the passage out, and 
the sergeant of marines in the hospital at Bahia, 
making the total of deaths amount to twenty-one. 

This great mortality is the more extraordinary, as it 
appears from Captain Tuckey's journal that nothing 
could have been finer than the climate : the atmosphere 
was remarkably dry, and scarcely a shower fell during 
the whole journey, and the sun for three or four days 
did not shine sufficiently to allow of an observation 
being taken. 

It appears from the report of the assistant surgeon 
that the greater number were carried off by a violent 
intermittent fever ; some of them appeared, however, to 
have had no other ailment than that caused by extreme 
exhaustion caused by the land journey. Some of the 
crew of the Congo died of the fever who never went 



LIEUTENANT JOHN HAWKEY 423 

above the cataracts; "but then," as the surgeon 
observes, "they were permitted to go on shore at 
liberty, where the day was passed in running about the 
country, and during the night lying in huts or in the 
open air." 

The Gentleman's Magazine for January, 18 17, gives 
a brief summary of the achievements of the expedi- 
tion. " They arrived at the mouth of the Congo about 
the 3rd July, and leaving the transport, which only 
accompanied them an inconsiderable distance, they 
proceeded in the sloop, which was purposely built to 
draw little water, up the river to the extent of 120 
miles, when her progress, and even that of the boats, 
was stopped by rapids. Determined still to prosecute 
the undertaking, the men landed, and it was not till 
they had marched 150 miles over a barren, moun- 
tainous country, and after experiencing the greatest 
privations from want of water, and being entirely ex- 
hausted by fatigue, that they gave up the attempt. 
Hope stayed them up till they reached the vessel, but 
they were so worn out that twenty-five out of the fifty- 
five died twenty-four hours after their return, compre- 
hending all the scientific part of those who started, and 
only eight were left on board in a state fit to navigate 
the vessel." 

That there is some inaccuracy in this account will be 
seen from what has preceded it. 

The authority for the story of this unfortunate ex- 
pedition is Sir John Barrow's edition of the narrative 
of the expedition, with the diary of Captain Tuckey, 
published in 1819 ; and Miss Charlotte Hawkey's 
iVeoto, privately printed in 1871. 



DR. DANIEL LOMBARD 

LANTEGLOS with Camelford is one of the 
richest livings in Cornwall. Lanteglos itself 
. is nearly two miles from Camelford, and in 
^ this latter place there is neither a church nor 
a licensed chapel. A few scattered farms are about 
Lanteglos ; and in Camelford, which is a market town, 
there is a population of 1370, left to be ministered to 
in holy things by dissenting ministers of many sects. 

The rectory of Lanteglos lies in a valley, amidst 
luxuriant vegetation, and is altogether a very snug 
spot indeed. 

In February, 1718, the Rev. Daniel Lombard was 
inducted into this living on the presentation of the 
Prince of Wales. He was a Frenchman, the son of a 
Huguenot pastor, who had fled from his native land 
on the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Daniel 
had been placed in Merchant Taylors' School, and 
thence had passed to S. John's College, Oxford, where 
he had taken his degree of Doctor of Divinity, and he 
became chaplain to the Princess of Wales, and in 
1714 published a sermon that he had preached before 
the Princess Sophia at Hanover. He spent a good 
deal of time in Germany, and there made the acquaint- 
ance of Mr. Gregor, of Trewarthenick, with whom in 
after life he maintained a lengthy correspondence, still 
extant. 

From all accounts Dr. Lombard was learned on 
certain lines, but he was totally unacquainted with the 

424 



DR. DANIEL LOMBARD 425 

ways of the world, utterly unsuited to be a parish 
priest, and lost completely in the isolation of Lanteglos, 
far from society in which he could shine ; and speaking 
English badly with a foreign accent. 

After his institution by the Bishop of Exeter to the 
livings of Lanteglos juxta Camelford and that of 
Advent, Dr. Lombard started off to reach his cure, 
mounted on one horse, and his servant on another, 
driving a third laden with such articles as appeared to 
him to be indispensable in a country where he supposed 
that nothing was procurable. 

He rode in this manner along the highway past 
Launceston, inquiring everywhere, "Vere ish Land- 
eglo juxta Camelvore ? " No one had heard of the 
place ; after some consideration the rustics pointed due 
west. He must go on one or two days' journey more. 
He thus travelled through Camelford, still inquiring 
" Mais ou done est Landeglo juxta Camelvore ?" 

" I know what he means," said some of those ques- 
tioned ; " the gentleman is seeking the Land's End." 

And so he travelled on and ever on till he reached the 
Land's End, and only then discovered that he had 
passed through his cure without knowing it. 

When at last he reached Lanteglos rectory, the woman 
who acted as housekeeper showed him with much pride 
a hen surrounded by a large brood of chickens. 
" Deare me!" exclaimed the Doctor. " 'Ow can von 
liddle moder afford to give milk from her breast to soche 
a large familie ? " 

Seeing sheep with red ruddle on their fleeces, " Pore 
things ! " said he. " 'Ow 'ot dey do seem to be ! Dey be 
red 'ot ! " 

He collected a tolerable library of books, and 
occupied himself with writing one work in French, a 
Dissertation on the Utility of History, introductory to 



426 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

strictures on certain histories that had been published 
by De Mezeray and the P^re Daniel. But he also wrote 
in English A Succinct History of Ancient and Modem 
Persecutions, together with a short essay on Assassina- 
tions and Civil Wars, 1747. 

He died at Camelford, December 14, 1746, and left 
his library for the use of his successor. 



THE DREAM OF MR. WILLIAMS 

JOHN WILLIAMS, of Scorrier, was the son of 
Michael Williams, of Gwennap, and was born 
23rd September, 1753. He was the most exten- 
sive mining adventurer in Cornwall. 

On May 11, 1812, Mr. Perceval, Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, was shot in the evening, just as he entered 
the lobby of the House of Commons, by a man called 
Bellingham, who had concealed himself behind a door. 

On that same night, Mr. Williams, of Scorrier, had 
three remarkable dreams, in each of which he saw the 
whole transaction as distinctly as if he had been present 
there in person. 

His attested statement, relative to these dreams, was 
drawn up and signed by him in the presence of the 
Rev. Thomas Fisher and Mr. Chas. Prideaux Brune. 
This account, the original MS. signed by Mr. 
Williams, is preserved at Prideaux Place, Padstow. 
A very minute account of it found its way into the 
Times of the 28th August, 1828 ; another was furnished 
to Dr. Abercrombie derived from Mr. Williams him- 
self, who detailed his experiences to a medical friend 
of the doctor, and this latter published this in his 
Inquiries Concerning the Intellectual Power. This was 
republished by Dr. Clement Carlyon in Early Years 
and Late Reflections, 1836-41, together with another 
account by Mr. Hill, a barrister, grandson of Mr. John 
Williams, and which he had taken down from his 
grandfather's lips. All these accounts are practically 

427 



428 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

identical. According to Dr. Abercrombie : "Mr. 
Williams dreamt that he was in the lobby of the House 
of Commons and saw a small man enter, dressed in a 
blue coat and white waistcoat. Immediately after he 
saw a man dressed in a brown coat with yellow basket 
buttons draw a pistol from under his coat and discharge 
it at the former, who instantly fell, the blood issuing 
from a wound a little below the left breast." According 
to Mr. Hill's account, " he heard the report of the pistol, 
saw the blood fly out and stain the waistcoat, and saw 
the colour of the face change." Dr. Abercrombie's 
authority goes on to state: " He saw the murderer seized 
by some gentlemen who were present, and observed his 
countenance, and in asking who the gentleman was 
who had been shot, he was told it was the Chancellor. 
He then awoke, and mentioned the dream to his wife, 
who made light of it." This wife was Catherine, 
daughter of Martin Harvey, of Killefreth, in Kenwyn, 
born in 1757. 

We will now take the rest of the narrative from the 
account in the Times: "Mrs. Williams very naturally 
told him it was only a dream, and recommended him 
to be composed, and go to sleep as soon as he could. 
He did so, and shortly after woke her again, and said 
that he had the second time had the same dream ; 
whereupon she observed he had been so much agitated 
by his former dream that she supposed it had dwelt on 
his mind, and begged him to try to compose himself and 
go to sleep, which he did. A third time the vision was 
repeated, on which, notwithstanding her entreaties that 
he would be quiet and endeavour to forget it, he arose, 
it being then between one and two o'clock, and dressed 
himself. 

"At breakfast the dreams were the sole subject of 
conversation, and in the afternoon Mr. Williams went 



THE DREAM OF MR. WILLIAMS 429 

to Falmouth, where he related the particulars of them 
to all of his acquaintance that he met. On the follow- 
ing day, Mr. Tucker, of Trematon Castle, accompanied 
by his wife, a daughter of Mr. Williams, went to Scor- 
rier House about dusk. 

" Immediately after the first salutations on their 
entering the parlour, where were Mr., Mrs., and Miss 
Williams, Mr. Williams began to relate to Mr. Tucker 
the circumstances of his dream ; and Mrs. Williams 
observed to her daughter, Mrs. Tucker, laughingly, 
that her father could not even suffer Mr. Tucker to be 
seated before he told him of his nocturnal visitation, 
on the statement of which he observed that it would do 
very well for a dream to have the (Lord) Chancellor in 
the lobby of the House of Commons, but he could not 
be found there in reality, and Mr. Tucker then asked 
what sort of a man he appeared to be, when Mr. 
Williams minutely described him, to which Mr. Tucker 
replied : ' Your description is not that of the Lord 
Chancellor, but it is certainly that of Mr. Perceval, the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer ; and although he has 
been to me the greatest enemy I ever met in my life, 
for a supposed cause which had no foundation or truth 
(or words to that effect), I should be exceedingly sorry 
indeed to hear of his being assassinated, or of injury 
of the kind happening to him.' 

"Mr. Tucker then inquired of Mr. Williams if he 
had ever seen Mr. Perceval, and was told that he had 
never seen him, nor had ever even written to him 
either on public or private business ; in short, that 
he never had anything to do with him, nor had he 
ever been in the lobby of the House of Commons 
in his life. 

"Whilst Mr. Williams and Mr. Tucker were still 
standing they heard a horse gallop to the door of 



430 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

the house, and immediately after Mr. Michael Williams, 
of Trevince (son of Mr. Williams, of Scorrier) entered 
the room, and said that he had galloped out of Truro 
(from which Scorrier is distant seven miles), having 
seen a gentleman there who had come by that evening's 
mail from London, who said that he had been in the 
lobby of the House of Commons on the evening of the 
nth, when a man called Bellingham had shot Mr. 
Perceval, and that, as it might occasion some great 
ministerial changes, and might affect Mr. Tucker's 
political friends, he had come as fast as he could to 
make him acquainted with it, having heard at Truro 
that he had passed through that place on his way to 
Scorrier. After the astonishment which this intelli- 
gence created had a little subsided, Mr. Williams 
described most particularly the appearance and dress of 
the man that he saw in his dream fire the pistol, as he 
had before done of Mr. Perceval. 

"About six weeks after, Mr. Williams, having 
business in town, went, accompanied by a friend, to 
the House of Commons, where, as has been already 
observed, he had never before been. Immediately 
that he came to the steps at the entrance to the lobby, 
he said : ' This place is as distinctly within my recollec- 
tion in my dream as any in my house,' and he made the 
same observation when he entered the lobby. He 
there pointed out the exact spot where Bellingham 
stood when he fired, and which Mr. Perceval had 
reached when he was struck by the ball, and when and 
how he fell. The dress, both of Mr. Perceval and 
Bellingham, agreed with the description given by Mr. 
Williams, even to the most minute particulars." 

Such is this well-authenticated story. It is worth 
notice that Mr. Williams saw the whole affair in dream 
thrice repeated long after the real event had taken 



THE DREAM OF MR. WILLIAMS 431 

place, and not by any means at the moment of the 
assassination. Some dreams that are well authenticated 
may have led to the conviction of murderers. But this 
did not ; it was wholly useless ; yet it is impossible to 
deny that it really occurred. 



SIR ROBERT TRESILIAN 

SIR ROBERT TRESILIAN, of Tresilian, in 
the parish of Newlyn, and by virtue of mar- 
riage with the heiress of Haweis also lord of 
Tremoderet in Duloe, was Lord Chief 
Justice of England and adviser to King Richard II ; 
he accordingly drew upon himself the animosity of 
the King's uncle, Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of 
Gloucester. But he had also drawn upon his head the 
hatred of the commonalty by his "bloody circuit" 
after the insurrection of Wat Tyler, Jack Straw, and 
John Ball. 

When Sir Robert Knollys had brought together a 
large force against the insurgents, the young King had 
forbidden him to slaughter them en masse, as he 
proposed, " For," said he, " I will have their blood in 
another way." And he had their blood by sending 
Chief Justice Tresilian among them, and, according to 
Holinshed, the number of executions amounted to 
1500. At first they were beheaded ; afterwards they 
were hanged and left on the gibbet to excite terror ; but 
their friends cut down the bodies and carried them off ; 
whereupon the King ordered that they should be 
hanged in strong iron chains ; and this was the first 
instance of this barbarous and disgusting practice in 
England. 

The King had promised the insurgent peasantry that 
serfage should be abolished, that liberty should be 
accorded to all to buy and sell in the markets, and 

432 



SIR ROBERT TRESILlAtJ 433 

that Iknd should be let at fourpertce ah aCre, that a 
Ifeiieral amnesty ishould be accorded. To all these he 
had acceded with charters sighed ahd sealed ; "but so 
soon as the disturbances were ovfer he fepadialted liis 
uhdertakings, ihd we cahnclt doubt 'tliat he did s6 at 
the advice of Tresilian, who pfOndtihced them illegal. 

Riehat-d did, i'hdieed, in t'he hext Pirlia'iheht, urge the 
abolition 6? villa:inage, biit the p'rdposal was cdldfy 
received, not pressed, and rejected. Moreover, oh the 
occasion of his matrikge With htttie of Bohemfk, Which 
took place sooh after, a general amnesty was pro- 
claimed. 

The people Werfe, however, disaffected. The impoSi- 
tibh of a poll td.'x levied oh rich ahd poor at the same 
sum on all O'i^^er 'fffteeh, and the sCahdalous mahner ih 
which it had been collected, had given general dis- 
satisfaction, and it was, in fadt, this Which had t'ottse'd 
Wat Tyler to march oh Lbndoh to obtain te^fess. 

The King had surrounded himself "With favourites, 
and his uncles wrere excluded froth his council, 
l^he country was divided between the 'p3.tty of the 
lKing and that of the Duke of Gloucester. There ts 
not the least reason to suppose that the latter had ¥t 
heart the Welfare of the people of l^h^lahd, atif hlOFe 
than had the creatures who suirrOunded the King. Tke 
tJuke "Was ttioved by resentment, pride, and ambitioh, 
and many believed tha;t he aimed at the crOwh. 

The chief favO'urites Of Richard were Michael de Ik 
Pole, whom he created Earl of Suffolk, and Robert de 
Vei-e, a young and handsome hian, who Was made 
Marquis of Dublin, receiving, at the sahie time, the 
eJctraOrdihaiy grant 0^ flie whole fevehue of Irdahd, 
out of which he was to pa^ a yearly rent of five tho1i- 
Sand marks to the King. He was sooh after ereated 
Duke of Ireland. The other advisers of the King -tireVe 

2 F 



434 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Worth, Archbishop of York, Sir Simon Burley, and Sir 
Robert Tresilian. These certainly judged rightly when 
they opposed the prosecution of the war in France, 
and the subvention of the claims of the Duke of Lan- 
caster to the Crown of Castile. The country was being 
drained of men and money in these profitless wars. 
But the nobles, headed by Thomas of Gloucester, 
opposed this policy, and naturally had the support of 
those who made money out of the wars. To defeat the 
plans of the council, Gloucester demanded the dis- 
missal of Sufifolk. The King petulantly answered that 
he would not at his command dismiss a scullion-boy 
from his kitchen. Suffolk was, however, impeached 
by, the Commons for undue use of his influence, and 
the King was obliged to submit to the fining and im- 
prisonment of his favourite. It was next proposed that 
a council should be appointed to reform the State. 
At this proposition Richard threatened to dissolve the 
Parliament. , A member of the Commons thereupon 
moved that the statute deposing Edward II should be 
read, and the King was warned that death might be 
the penalty of a continued refusal. He yielded. The 
commission was appointed, and Gloucester and his 
friends, who formed the great majority, were masters 
of England. In yielding, Richard limited the duration 
of the commission to a year. The King was now 
twenty years of age, but he was reduced to as mere a 
cipher as when he was a boy of eleven. 

In the month of August in the following year, 1387, 
acting under the advice of Tresilian, he assembled a 
council at Nottingham, and submitted to some of the 
judges who attended it this question— Whether the 
Commission of Government appointed by Parliament, 
and approved of under his own seal, were legal or 
illegal? Tresilian led the rest of the judges to certify 



SIR ROBERT TRESILIAN 435 

that the commission was illegal, and that all those who 
had introduced the measure were liable to capital 
punishment; that all who supported it were by that 
a,ct guilty of high treason ; in short, that both Lords 
and Commons were traitors. 

On the nth November following the King returned 
to London, when he was alarmed by hearing that the 
Duke of Gloucester, the Earls of Arundel and Notting- 
ham, the Constable, Admiral, and Marshal of England 
were approaching the capital at the head of forty thou- 
sand men. The decision of Tresilian and the judges 
and of the King had, in fact, forced them into re- 
bellion, as it was pretty evident that Richard aimed at 
taking their lives. 

So soon as Richard's cousin, the Earl of Derby, 
heard of the approach of Gloucester, he quitted the 
Court with the Earl of Warwick, went to Waltham 
Cross, and there joined him. The members of the 
Council of Eleven were there already. On Sunday, the 
17th of November, the Duke entered London with an 
irresistible force and "appealed" of treason the Arch- 
bishop of York, De Vere, Duke of Ireland, De la Pole, 
Earl of Suffolk, Sir Robert Tresilian, Chief Justice of 
England, and Sir Nicolas Brember, Knight, a London 
grocer and Lord Mayor of London. 

The favourites instantly took to flight. De la Pole, 
the condemned Chancellor, succeeded in reaching 
France, where he died soon after ; De Vere, Duke of 
Ireland, got to the borders of Wales, where he raised 
an army, acting in concert with the King ; it was 
resolved he should march to London. The Archbishop 
of York escaped to Flanders, where he spent the rest 
of his days as a village priest. 

The fate of Chief Justice Tresilian must be told in 
the words of Sir John Froissart. 



436 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Richard had gone to Bristol to organize an army 
against the Duke of Gloucester, and De Vere, the 
Duke of Ireland, was with him there. 

"While the army was collecting, the King and the 
Duke in secret conference, determined to send one of 
their confidential agents to London, to observe what 
was going forward, and if the King's uncles still 
remained there, to discover what they were doing. 
After some consultation, they could think of no proper 
person to send on this errand ; when a knight who was 
cousin to the Duke, called Sir Robert Tresilian, 
stepped forth, and said to the Duke, ' I see the difficulty 
you have to find a trusty person to send to London ; I, 
from love of you, will risk the adventure.' The King 
and the Duke, well pleased with the offer, thanked him 
for it. Tresilian left Bristol disguised as a poor trades- 
man, mounted on a wretched hackney. He continued 
his road to London, and lodged at an inn where he was 
unknown ; for no man could have ever imagined that 
one of the King's counsellors and chamberlains would 
have appeared in so miserable a dress. 

"When in London, he picked up all the news that 
was possible, for he could do no more, respecting the 
King's uncles and the citizens. Having heard that 
there was to be a meeting of the Dukes and their 
council at Westminster, he determined to go thither to 
learn secretly all he could of their proceedings. This 
he executed, and fixed his quarters at an ale-house 
right opposite the palace gate. He chose a chamber 
the window of which looked into the palace yard, where 
he posted himself to observe all who should come to 
this Parliament. The greater part he knew, but was 
not, from his disguise, known to them. He, however, 
remained there at different times, so long, that a squire 
of the Duke of Gloucester saw and recognized him. 



SIR ROBERT TRESILIAN 437 

fpr he had been many times in his company. Sir 
Robert also at once recollected him, and withdrew 
from the window; but the squire, having his suspicions, 
said, 'Surely that must be Tresilian.' To be certain 
on this point, he entered the ale-house, and said to the 
landlady, 'Dame, tell me, on your troth, who is he 
that is drinking in the room above ; he is alone and 
not in company.' 'On my troth, sir,' she replied, 'I 
cannot give you his name ; but he has been here some 
time.' At these words, the squire went upstairs to 
know the truth, and having saluted Sir Robert, found 
he was right, though he dissembled by saying, ' God 
preserve you, master ! I hope you will not take my 
coming amiss, for I thought you had been one of my 
farmers from Essex, as you are so very like him.' * By 
no means,' said Sir Robert; 'I am from Kent, and hold 
lands of Sir John Holland, and wish to lay my com- 
plaints before the Council against the tenants of the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, who encroach much on my 
farm.' ' If you will come into the hall,' said the squire, 
' I will have way made for you to lay your grievances 
before the lords.' * Many thanks,' replied Sir Robert ; 
'not at this moment, but I shall not renounce your 
assistance. " At the words the squire ordered a quart 
of ale, and having paid for it, he said, ' God be with 
you ! ' and left the ale-house. 

"He lost no time in hastening to the council- 
chamber, and called to the usher to open the door. 
The usher, knowing him, asked his business. He said, 
'he must instantly speak with the Duke of Gloucester, 
on matters that mainly concerned him and the council.' 
The usher, on this, bade him enter, which he did, and 
made up to the Duke of Gloucester, saying, ' My lord, 
I will tell it aloud ; for it concerns not you only but all 
the lords present. I have seen Sir Robert Tresilian, 



438 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

disguised as a peasant, in an ale-house close by the 
palace gate.' ' Tresilian ! ' exclaimed the Duke. ' On 
my faith, my lord, it is true ; and you will have him to 
dine with, if you please.' 'I should like it much/ 
replied the Duke ; ' for he will tell us some news of his 
master, the Duke of Ireland. Go, and secure him ; but 
with power enough not to be in danger of failing.' 

"The squire on these orders, left the council-cham- 
ber, and having chosen four bailiffs, said to them, 
* Follow me at a distance ; and so soon as you shall 
perceive me make you a sign to arrest a man I am in 
search of, lay hands on him, and take care he do not, 
on any account, escape.' The .squire made for the ale- 
house where he had left Sir Robert, and, mounting the 
staircase to the room where he was, said, on entering : 
'Tresilian, you are not come to this country for any 
good, as I imagine ; my Lord of Gloucester sends me 
for you, and you must come and speak with him.' The 
knight turned a deaf ear, and would have been excused 
by saying, ' I am not Tresilian, but a tenant of Sir 
John Holland.' 

'"That is not true,' replied the squire; 'your body 
is Tresilian's, though not your dress.' And, making a 
sign to the bailiffs, who were at the door, they entered 
the house and arrested him, and, whether he would or 
not, carried him to the palace. You may believe, there 
was a great crowd to see him ; for he was well known 
in London, and in many parts of England. 

"The Duke of Gloucester was much pleased, and 
would see him. When in his presence, the Duke 
said : 'Tresilian, what has brought you hither? How 
fares my Sovereign? Where does he now reside?' 
Tresilian, finding that he was discovered, and that no 
excuses would avail, replied: 'On my faith, my lord,' 
the King has sent me hither to learn the news. He is 



SIR ROBERT TRESILlAltj 439 

in Bristol, and on the banks of the Severn, where he 
hunts and amuses himself.' 

" ' How !' said the Duke, " You do not come dreSseid 
as an honest man, but like a spy. If ybu had been 
desirous to learn what was passing, your appearance 
should have been like that of a knight or a decent 
person.' * My lord,' answered Tresilian, *if I have 
done wrong, I hope you will excuse me, for I have 
only done what I was bid.' ' And where is your 
master, the Duke of Ireland?' 'My lord,' said Tre- 
silian, 'he is with the King, my lord.' The Duke 
then added : ' We have been informed that he is col- 
lecting a large body of men, and that the King has 
issued his summons to that effect. Whither does he 
mean to lead them?' 'My lord, they are indeed for 
Ireland.' 'For Ireland!' said the Duke. 'Yes, in- 
deed, as God may help me,' answered Tresilian. 

"The Duke mused awhile, and then spoke: 'Tresilian, 
Tresilian, your actions are neither fair nor honest. 
You have committed a great piece of folly in coming 
to these parts, where you are far from being loved, as 
will shortly be shown to you. Yes, and others of your 
faction have done what has greatly displeased my 
brother and myself, and have ill-advised the King, 
whom you have stirred up to quarrel with his chief 
nobility. In addition, you have excited the principal 
towns against us. The day of retribution is therefore 
come, when you shall receive payment ; for whoever 
acts unjustly receives his reward. Look to your affairs, 
for I will neither eat nor drink till you be no more.' 

" This speech greatly terrified Sir Robert (for no one 
likes to hear of his end) by the manner in which it was 
uttered. He was desirous to obtain pardon, by various 
excuses, and the most abject humiliation, but in vain. 
The Duke had received information of what was going 



440 CORNISy CH4^ACTE^.S 

qij at, Bristol, and hi^ excuses were friypIouiSr. Whj? 
should I make a long story ? Sijr Robert was delivered 
tff, the hangman, vrhp led him out to the pl^ce of 
executipn, where he >y^s, beheajlpd, and then, hung by 
the aj^m^ to a, gibJjBt,. Thus eijded Sir Robert f re- 



PIRATE TRELAWNY 

EDWARD. JOHN TRELAWNY, a younger 
son of, Charles Breceton Trelawny, came ipto 
this, world on the sind or 3i;d of November, 
bul in, what year is not certain. I,t. is said that 

he was born in 1792, but eithej; this is a wrong date,, or 
else Colonel Viyian, in his. Visitations, of Cornwall, 
errs, for he gives that year as the one in which Harry 
Brereton Trelawny, the eldest son,, was born, Charles 
Brereton Trelawny was the son of Harry Trel^nvny, a 
Ijeutenant-rgeneral in the army and Governor, of Land- 
guard Fort. 

Of his father, Edward John entertained no favourable, 
opinion. " My father, notwithstanding his increased 
fortune, did not increase his expenditure ;, nay, he, 
established, if possible, a stricter system of economy. 
The only symptom he ever showed of imagination was 
qastle-building ; but his, fabrications were founded on a 
more solid basis than is usually to be met, with among 
the visions of day-dreamers. No unreal mockery of 
fairy scenes of bliss found a resting-place in his bosom. 
Ingots, money, lands, houses,, *nd tenements constir 
tuted his dreams. He became a mighty arithmetician 
by the aid of a ready reckoner, his pocket companion ; he 
set down to a fraction the sterling value of all his and hif! 
wjfe's relations^ the heirs at law, their nearest of kin,, 
their ages, and the state of their constitutions. The 
insurance table was examined to calcu.la,te the value of 
theif, lives; tq this he added the probable chances a.f\??^ 

441 



442 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

ing from diseases, hereditary and acquired, always for- 
getting his own gout. He then determined to regulate 
his conduct accordingly ; to maintain the most friendly 
intercourse with his wealthy connexions, and to keep 
aloof from the poor ones. Having no occasion to 
borrow, his aversion to lending amounted to antipathy. 
The distrust and horror he expressed at the sliglitest 
allusion to loans, unbacked by security and interest, 
had the effect of making the most imprudent and a,dven- 
turous desist from essaying him, and continuejn their 
necessities, or beg, or rob, or starve, in preference tb 
urging their wants to him. 

"It was his custom to appropriate a room in the 
house to the conservation of those things he loved — 
choice wines, foreign preserves, cordials. This sanc- 
tum was a room on the ground floor, under a skylight. 
Our next-door neighbours' pastime happened to be a 
game of balls, when one of them lodged on the leaded 
roof of this consecrated room. Two of my sisters, of 
the ages of fourteen and sixteen, ran from the drawiiig- 
room back window to seek for the ball, and slipping on 
the leads, the younger fell through the skylight on to 
the bottles and jars upon the table below. She was 
dreadfully bruised, and her hands, legs and face were 
cut, so much so, that she still retains the scars. Her 
sister gave the alarm. My mother was called ; she 
went to the door of the store-room ; her child screamed 
out, for God's sake to open the door ; she was bleeding 
to death. My mother dared not break the lock, as my 
father had prohibited any one from entering this, his 
blue chamber ; and what was worse, he had the key. 
Other keys were tried, but none could open the door. 
Had I been there, my foot should have picked the lock. 
Will it be believed that, in that state, my sister was 
compelled to await my father's return from the House 




EDWARD JOHN TRELAWNY 
From a drawing by D. Lucas 



PIRATE TRELAWNY 443 

of Commons, of which he was a member? At last, 
when he returned, my mother informed him of the 
accident, and tried to allay the wrath which she saw 
gathering on his brow. He took no notice of her, but 
paced forward to the closet, when the delinquent, awed 
by his dreadful voice, hushed her sobs. He opened 
the door and found her there, scarcely able to stand, 
trembling and weeping. Without speaking a word, 
he kicked and cuffed her out of the room, and then 
gloomily decanted what wine remained in the broken 
bottles." 

The mother of Edward John was Maria, sister of Sir 
Christopher Hawkins, of Trewithen. 

That a high-spirited, self-willed, passionate boy like 
Edward John should get on with such a father was 
antecedently improbable ; and he was sent to sea at the 
age of twelve in the Superb, and had the ill fortune to 
miss the battle of Trafalgar, through Admiral Duck- 
worth delaying three days at Plymouth to victual his 
ships with mutton and potatoes. 

" Young as I was, I shall never forget our falling in 
with the Pickle schooner off Trafalgar, carrying the 
first despatches of the battle and death of its hero. 
Her commander, burning with impatience to be the 
first to convey the news to England, was compelled to 
heave to and come on board us. Captain Keates 
received him on deck, and when he heard the news 
I was by his side. Silence reigned throughout the 
ship ; some great event was anticipated. The officers 
stood in groups, watching with intense anxiety the two 
commanders, who walked apart. ' Battle,' ' Nelson,' 
'ships,' were the only audible words which could be 
gathered from their conversation. I saw the blood rush 
into Keates's face ; he stamped the deck, walked hur- 
riedly, and spoke with passion. I marvelled, for I had 



444 CORNISH CHARACEERS 

never before seen him much moved ; he had. appeared 
cool, firm, and collected on all occasions, and it struck 
me that some awful event had taken place, or was at 
hand. The Admiral was still in his cabin, eager for 
news from the Nelson fleet. He was an irritable and 
violjent man, and after a few. minutes, swelling with 
wrath, he, sent an order to Keates, who possibly heard it 
not, but staggered along the deck, struck to the heart 
by the news, and, for the first time in his life, forgot 
his respect to his superior in rank; muttering, as it 
seemed, curses on his fate that, by the Admiral's delay,, 
he had not participated in the most glorious battle in 
naval history. Another messenger enforced him to 
descend in haste to the Admiral, who was high in rage 
and impatience. 

"Keates, for I followed him, on entering the Admiral's 
cabin said in a subdued voice, as if he were choking, 
' A great battle has been fought, two days ago, off 
Trafalgar. The combined fleets of France and Spain 
are annihilated, and Nelson is no more ! ' He then 
murmured, ' Had we not been detained we should 
have been there.' 

"Duckworth answered not, conscience-struck, but 
stalked the deck. He seemed ever to avoid the look 
of his captain, and turned to converse with the com- 
mander of the schooner, who replied in sulky brevity, 
'Yes' or 'No.' Then, dismissing him, he ordered all 
sail to be set, and walked the quarter-deck alone. A 
death-like stillness pervaded the ship, broken at inter- 
vals by the low murmurs of the crew and ofiicers, 
when ' battle ' and ' Nelson ' could alone be distin- 
guished. Sorrow and discontent, were painted on 
every face. 

" On the following morning we fell in with a portion 
of the victorious fleet. It was blowing a gale, and 



PIRATE TRELAWNY . 445 

they lay wrecks on the sea. Our Admiral communi- 
cated with them, and then, joining ColIingWoiod, had 
six sail of the line put under his command, with orders 
to pursue that part of the enemy's fleet which had 
escaped ; and I joined the ship to which I was appointed. 
It is unnecessary to dwell on the miseries of a cockpit 
life : I found it more tolerable than my school, and 
little worse than my home. " 

When paid off he was sent under a Scotch captain, 
who treated him badly, and then he was in another 
vessel and resolved to desert the service. This he did 
at Bombay. So far we can trust what Trelawny has 
given us in that remarkable book Adventures of a 
Younger Son ; but from this point on he romances, but 
romances with an air of reality. It is not possible to 
discriminate fact from fiction in What follows. Un- 
doubtedly Pirate Trelawny started on his memoirs with 
the intent of writing his autobiography, but he waS 
inordinately vain, and delighted in posturing as a hero 
and in describing marvellous adventures through which 
he passed, heightening them sensationally with won- 
derful skill. 

What seems probable is that, after deserting from the 
navy, he was for a while in thfe merchant Service, and 
then joined a privateer cruising in the India seas. As 
Mr. E. Garnett Well says, "the Younger Son is an 
excellent stage hero by the finish ; he meets and over- 
comes all odds ; it is truly a glorious Trelawny — thfe 
Trelawny of his own imagination." 

He states that he was married when he was twenty- 
one, and that the marriage took place In England, so 
that he must have returned borne somewhere about 
1813. But we really know nothing authentic of his 
movements till 1822, when he was in England, and 
thence went to Italy, where he made acquaintance with 



446 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Lord Byron and with Shelley. After the lamentable 
death of the latter poet he attended at the cremation of 
the body. Thence he went with Byron to Greece in 
the Hercules, to aid the Greeks against the Turks. 
They arrived at Cephalonia, off the west coast, in the 
beginning of August, 1823, and there Lord Byron 
resolved on staying till -he could ascertain how things 
were progressing in Greece and decide on his future 
course of action. This delay did not at all suit the 
impetuosity of the character of Trelawny, who called it 
dawdling, and set forward for the mainland in company 
with Hamilton Browne, making his way to the seat 
of the Greek Government. He also sent emissaries to 
England to endeavour to raise a loan, and then pro- 
ceeded to Athens. Here the insurgent leader Odysseus 
was in command, and to his fortunes Trelawny at once 
attached himself, and married the sister of the Greek 
chieftain. 

Major Temple, resident at Santa Maura, during his 
mission to the Morea in June, 1824, met Odysseus, 
and described him as "a perfect Albanian chieftain — 
savage in manners and appearance, of great muscular 
strength, and about six feet high." 

He had his head-quarters in a huge cavern in the 
face of the limestone precipices of Mount Parnassus, 
which he had strongly fortified, and in this he kept his 
treasure that he had accumulated and lodged his family. 
In the meantime dissension had broken out among the 
Greeks, between the leaders of the bands that did all 
the fighting, under Kolokotroni, and the Executive 
Government that had been elected by the primates, 
at the head of which stood Mavrocordato. A complete 
rupture had ensued at the end of 1823 between the 
parties, and the guerilla chieftains absolutely refused 
obedience to the Provisional Government. 



PIRATE TRELAWNY ^ 447 

In the same winter of 1823-4 Trelawny accpmpanieid 
Odysseus as aide-de-camp upon an expedition into 
Negropont, and on their return to Athens, where 
Colonel Stanhope then was, Trelawny sent a letter to 
his mother, of which the following is an extract : — 

"Athens, 18th February, 1824. 

" Dear Mother, — I am enabled to keep twenty-five 
followers, Albanian soldiers, with whom I have joined 
the most enterprising of the Greek captains and most 
powerful — Ulysses. I am much with him, and havp 
done my best during the winter campaign, in which we 
have besieged Negropont, to make up for the many years 
of idleness I have led. I am now in my element, and the 
energy of my youth is reawakened. I have clothed 
myself in the Albanian costume and sworn to uphold 
the cause. 

"Everything here is going on as well as heart can 
wish. Great part of Greece is already emancipated. 
The Morea is free, and we are making rapid progress 
to the westward. Lord Byron spends ;£^5ooO a year in 
the cause and maintains five hundred soldiers. This 
will in the eyes of the world redeem the follies of youth. 
" Your affectionate son, 

"Edward Trelawny." 

Trelawny and Odysseus desired to get Lord Byron 
to be with them, but this plan was frustrated by the 
death of the poet on April 19th, 1824. 

Colonel Stanhope proposed a congress of the civil 
and military leaders, so as to effect a reconciliation be- 
tween the two embittered elements that were weaken- 
ing the resistance a.gainst the common enepiy, the 
Turk. Odysseus consented to attend this meeting at 
Salona, and Trelawny also agreed to be present. 



448 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Mavrocordato looked on TrelaWny with suspicio'fi as 
intimate v/ith Odysseus and as his brbther-in-la\*r, and 
he foisted upon him an English spy nahied Ftenton, and 
an accomplice of the name of Whitcom"be, with secret 
instructions to make away with bifn. 

After returning from Salona, Trelawny was with 
Odysseus in Eastern Greece, carrying on the war in 
guerilla fashion without any great results. 

In the autumn he was at Argos, whence a letter 
(certainly his, though unsigned) was sent to his brother 
Lieutenant Harry Trelawny, r. n. 

". . . To give you an idea of the misery existing 
here is beyond all expression. The town is nothing 
more or less than a chaos of ruins ; not a house in- 
habitable. The fever making great havoc, people 
actually falling down in the streets. The stench of the 
place is so great I am obliged to remove my quarters 
to the once famous Argos, not more than an hour's 
walk from Agamemnon's tomb, which I have not yet 
seen. The scenery Is beautiful ; perfectly romantic. I 
am now living in a house without doors or windows, 
every man armed. 

' ' The Commissioners are both sick. Mr. Bulwer lias 
proposed to raise a body of fifty men, but I am afraid it 
will all evaporate in smoke, like all his undertakings 
here. I am much afraid nothing is to be done : they 
look on all foreigners as intruders. Marty oif the 
French have behaVed most shamefully, but, ats 1 tol^ 
you before, I will exert eVery elfort. All my hopes are 
placed in Colonel Gordort's arrival. 

"Your Brother.*' 

The Commissioners referred to were fienry Lyttoh 
Bulwer (Lord Balling) and J. H. Browne, sent out Ijy 
tile Greek Committee in London, when it was too Me, 



PIRATE TRELAWNY 449 

to ascertain whether the Greek Provisional Government 
was sufficiently firmly established, and sufficiently trust- 
worthy, to warrant the paying over to it of that part of 
the loan raised in England on their behalf not already 
advanced. The loan was of ;£^8oo,ooo, but from this 
56.4 per cent was deducted, so that the whole amount 
,to be forwarded to the Greek Government would be 
only ;£'348,ooo. 

Odysseus was beset with difficulties, as the Provisional 
Government refused to furnish him with men or money. 
Trelawny made vain attempts to raise funds. 

Ultimately Odysseus made a truce for three months 
with Omer Pasha, of Negropont, but being regarded 
with suspicion on both sides, he endeavoured to make 
his escape, and left Trelawny in charge of the cave and 
its contents. It was at this time that Fenton, the hired 
spy, in May, 1825, made the attempt to assassinate Tre- 
lawny. He took the opportunity when Trelawny's 
back was towards him to shoot him. 

Odysseus was compelled to surrender to the Govern- 
ment, was carried off to Athens, where he was strangled 
by order of Mavrocordato. 

Trelawny's wounds were so dangerous that he 
suffered for three months before he could be said to 
have recovered, and he then escaped from the cavern 
and landed in Cephalonia in September, 1825, bringing 
his Albanian wife with him. During the next two 
years he was engaged in a lawsuit about his wife, whom 
he treated with brutality, so that she left him and 
retired to a convent, with purpose ultimately to pro- 
ceed to Paxo, where lived her sister. Whilst in the 
convent she was delivered of a child which she sent to 
Trelawny to be put out to nurse, as they objected in 
the convent to have the infant there. Trelawny sent 
it to a woman who undertook to rear it, but it died, 

2 G 



450 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

whereupon, as Mr. H. Robinson of Zante wrote to 
Toole on 22nd November, 1827, "he sent the dead 
body to the Castle Monastery, where she (his wife) was, 
in a box with her things and a message from him. 
The wife knew not what was in the box and refused to 
open it, and there it lay until putrid. 

"An examination took place with all the fuss which 
the courts make about suspicione d'infanticido, and 
ended by T. being fined two dollars for improperly 
removing a dead body." 

In or about the month of July, 1829, Signora 
Trelawny made petition to the Lord High Com- 
missioner to the following effect : — 

"It is perhaps known to Your Excellency that at 
about the age of thirteen I was given in marriage to 
Signor Trelawny, my family urging that I should live 
happily with one brought up in the courtesy and good- 
breeding of his country ; but, as my experience proved, 
he failed to treat me with that consideration and 
nobility of character which distinguish the men of 
his nation. The nature of the long-continued treat- 
ment which I have had to endure at the hands of the 
said Signor Trelawny is not unknown, and at the last, 
it is perhaps within Your Excellency's recollection that 
he brought grief to my very eyes by sending me 
while in the convent, with cunning and brutality, the 
dead body of my daughter and his." 

She then stated that Zante had become lonely for 
her, as her brothers and mother had gone to Greece. 
She wanted to go to Paxo to her sister, but the custom 
of Zante obliged a wife separated from her husband to 
live in a convent. 

She continued: "I venture humbly to ask Your 
Excellency if, being the wife of an Englishman, I 
ought to be subject to the custom of the island in 



PIRATE TRELAWNY 451 

which I chance to find myself a resident. Should an 
Englishwoman be subjected to such treatment as I 
am? ... I promise Your Excellency that, in what- 
ever place or situation I find myself, I will conduct 
myself always as is proper for the wife of an English 
gentleman ; and though he himself may be wanting in 
dignity of behaviour, I will do neither him nor myself 
the dishonour of imitating him. 

"Tersitza Philippa Trelawny." 

This petition and the letter of Mr. Robinson suffice 
to show that the story of Trelawny sending his dead 
child in a box to its mother is not to be rejected as 
a fable, as it has been by the author of the notice on 
Edward John Trelawny in the Dictionary of National 
Biography.^ The poor unfortunate girl, then aged 
seventeen, obtained a separation from her husband 
a mensa et thoro, by a sentence of the Ecclesiastical 
Court, and by definitive sentences of the courts of 
law in Zante and Corfu she was entitled to an aliment 
from her husband of twenty-five dollars a month, for 
the payment of which Mr. Barff, the banker of Zante, 
and Mr. Stevens, of Corfu, were securities. But this 
was the result of much litigation, causing Trelawny 
annoyance and angering him to the last degree. 

In the autumn of 1828 he visited England, but re- 
turned to the Continent in the spring of the following 
year, feeling out of his element at home. "To whom 
am I a neighbour?" he wrote, "and near whom? I 
dwell amongst tame and civilized human beings with 
somewhat the same feelings as we may guess the lion 
feels when, torn from his native wildness, he is tortured 
into domestic intercourse with what Shakespeare calls 

' See for the above and more on the subject of " Pirate Trelawny" 
an article by T. C. Down in the Nineteenth Century, May, 1907, 



452 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

'forked animals,' the most abhorrent to his nature." 
He rambled about ; set up a harem in Athens, bought a 
Moorish girl to be his concubine, wrote his Adventures 
of a Younger Son, and sent the MS. in 1830 to Mrs. 
Shelley, and it was published in three volumes in 1831, 
with some excisions of grossness and licentiousness, 
which the publisher insisted on having removed. As 
already said, no reliance can be placed on this auto- 
biography as a narrative of the facts of his life, except 
only of his boyhood, for, as Lord Byron said of Tre- 
lawny, "he could not speak the truth even if he 
wished to do so." 

When the book appeared, the Athenceum considered 
the hero — Trelawny himself — "a kind of ruffian from 
his birth," as he had painted himself, leaving out the 
villainies and brutalities of which he had been guilty. 

He was thrice married, and behaved badly to all 
three wives. He could not be faithful and generous 
even to his friends. With Byron he had been most 
intimate, yet when Byron died he wrote to Mary 
Shelley: "It is well for his name, and better for 
Greece, that Byron is dead. ... I now feel my face 
burn with shame that so weak and ignoble a soul could 
so long have influenced me. It is a degrading reflec- 
tion, and ever will be. I wish he had lived a little 
longer, that he might have witnessed how I would 
have soared above him here, how I would have 
triumphed over his mean spirit." Trelawny soaring ! 
— as a vulture only in quest of carrion. 

And when, in 1858, he published his Recollections of 
Shelley and Byron, thirty-four years after the death of 
the latter, he painted Byron in the harshest colours; 
and one can hardly escape feeling that this was 
prompted by jealousy of the esteem in which the 
world held Byron for his genius. He himself pos- 



PIRATE TRELAWNY 453 

sessed all the bad qualities that he despised in Byron, 
but did not recognize in himself the superadded 
brutality which Byron was too much a gentleman to 
show. 

Even Mrs. Shelley, a lifelong friend and corre- 
spondent, to whom he had often poured out his heart, 
and whom he had contemplated at one time marry- 
ing, could not be spoken of by him after her death but 
in disparagement and with a revelation to the world of 
her little weaknesses. 

He was in England again in 1835, went into society, 
and married for the third time, to make another woman 
miserable. For a number of years he lived at Putney 
Hill, and then took a farm at Usk, in Monmouthshire, 
and amused himself with farming. 

In or about 1870, Trelawny, then seventy-eight 
years old, bought a house and a small plot of land 
at Sompting, near Wortham, and occupied himself 
with gardening. One day two men with guns in their 
hands requested permission to enter his grounds after 
a bird that had taken refuge there. He answered 
fiercely, ' ' All the leave I will accord you is to shoot 
one another." 

At Sompting, Trelawny died on August 13th, 1881, 
at the age of eighty-six. In accordance with his wish 
to be laid beside Shelley, his body was embalmed in 
England, cremated at Gotha, and the ashes taken to 
the Protestant burial-ground in Rome, and laid in the 
tomb he had bought fifty-eight years before, next to 
those of his friend. 

Trelawny was a very handsome man, tall and well 
built ; he had flashing dark eyes under beetling brows, 
and an aquiline nose, raven-black hair, and a dusky, 
Spanish complexion. He spoke very loud. He re- 
tained his good looks to the end of his days. 



454 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Shelley described him in Fragments of an Un- 
finished Drama : — 

He was as is the sun in liis fierce youth, 
As terrible and lovely as a tempest. 

In Millais' painting of " The North- West Passage," 
exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1874, the old sailor 
is a portrait of Captain Trelawny ; and it has been con- 
jectured that Thackeray delineated him as Captain 
Sumph in Pendennts, I, cap. 35. 

The authorities for Trelawny's life are, beside the 
first part of his Adventures of a Younger Son, his 
Recollections of Shelley and Byron, 1858; the new edition 
of the work, published in 1878, was called Records of 
Shelley, Byron, and the Author. 

Mr. R. Garnett has a notice of the life of Trelawny 
prefixed to the edition of the Adventures of a Younger 
Son of 1890. A lengthy life of Trelawny is in the 
Dictionary of National Biography. An error in this 
is pointed out by Mr. T. C. Down in the article on 
"Pirate Trelawny" already referred to and quoted 
from. 

A pleasant account of " Mr. Trelawny and his 
Friends " appeared in the Contemporary Review for 
1878. 

Something further about him may be gleaned from 
Frances A. Kemble's Records of a Girlhood, 1878, 
m> 75> 308-12. There are corrections of some of 
Trelawny's inaccuracies in D. Guido Biagi's The Last 
Days of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1898. 



JAMES SILK BUCKINGHAM 

MR. S. C. HALL, writing after the death 
of J, S. Buckingham, thus expressed his 
opinion of this truly remarkable man : 
" Whatever, during his life, envy, 
jealousy, monopolous interest or satirical hostility 
may have said to the contrary, there can be little 
doubt, now he is gone, that the late Mr. James Silk 
Buckingham was amongst the most useful as well as 
the most hopeful and industrious men of his time. 
His career was one remarkable illustration of the well- 
known line of the old song, ' It's wonderful what we 
can do if we try ' ; for at almost every step he took he 
was met by some disaster or annoyance, yet kept 
pressing on with the most dauntless persistence, 
making the best of the worst circumstances, and even 
when failing in his own personal endeavours, giving 
such an impulse to the powers of others in whatever 
cause or course he had engaged, that the end in view 
was generally attained, and in several notable instances 
within the period of his own life." 

The Buckinghams were a North Devon family, and 
the grandfather of the subject of this notice had lived 
in Barnstaple. For several generations they had been 
connected with the sea. Christopher Buckingham 
settled at Flushing on a small farm, along with his 
wife Thomazine, daughter of a Hambley of Bodmin. 

James Silk describes his father as wearing a cocked 
hat, long, square-tailed coat with large pockets and 

4SS 



456 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

sleeves, square-toed shoes with silver buckles, and as 
walking abroad carrying a tall, gold-headed cane. 

James Silk was born at Flushing on the 25th August, 
1786. He had two brothers and a sister. His father 
died in 1794. 

"The port of Falmouth," wrote he in his unfinished 
memoirs, " being nearest to the entrance of the 
Channel, there were permanently stationed here two 
squadrons of frigates, one under the command of Sir 
Edward Pellew (afterwards Lord Exmouth), the other 
under the command of Sir John Borlase Warren. The 
former, as commodore, hoisted his pennant on the 
Indefatigable, the latter on the R&volutionaire. Each 
squadron consisted of five frigates of thirty-two and 
forty-four guns each ; and, in addition to these, there 
were continually arriving and departing from Carrick 
Roads, the outer anchorage of Falmouth, line-of-battle 
ships and smaller vessels of war ; while the prizes 
taken from the French were constantly brought into 
the port for adjudication and sale. There were two 
large prisons, with open courts, for the reception of 
the French prisoners thus taken, and every month 
added many to their inmates. 

"Both the naval commodores, as well as such captains 
of the frigates belonging to the squadrons as were 
married, had their families residing at Flushing, and 
the numerous officers of different grades, from the 
youngest midshipman to the first lieutenant, were con- 
tinually coming and going to and fro . . . so that the 
little village literally sparkled with gold epaulets and 
gold-laced hats and brilliant uniforms." 

He tells a curious story of his childhood. Corn, 
owing to the war, had mounted to famine price, and 
the miners of Cornwall went about in gangs waging 
war against all forestallers, regraters, and hoarders of 




JAMES SILK BUCKINGHAM 



JAMES SILK BUCKINGHAM 457 

grain, and demolishing bakers' shops, mills, and grain 
stores. 

"A body of some three or four hundred of these men 
entered Flushing, and as they were all dressed in the 
mud-stained smock frocks and trousers in which they 
worked underground, all armed with large clubs and 
sticks of various kinds, and speaking an uncouth 
jargon, which none but themselves could understand, 
they struck terror wherever they went. Their numbers 
were quite equal to the whole adult male population of 
the little village, so that the men stood aghast, the 
women retired into their houses, and closed their doors, 
and the children seemed struck dumb with affright. 
The moment of their visit, too, was most inopportune, 
for on that very day a large party of the captains and 
officers of the packets residing at Flushing were occu- 
pied in storing a cargo of grain that had just been 
discharged from a coasting vessel at the quay, and 
locking it up in warehouses to secure it from plunder." 

At this time it happened that all the ships of war 
were absent on their cruising grounds. The situation 
was dangerous, and the men threatened an attack on 
the warehouses, and were muttering and brandishing 
their clubs, and falling into ranks, when Captain 
Kempthorne snatched up little James Silk, then an 
urchin of six or seven, seated him on a sack of corn, 
and bade him strike up a hymn. 

With his shrill little pipe, he started — 

Salvation, O ! the joyful sound, 
'Tis music to our ears. 

Whereupon at once the mob took up the chant, sang 
the hymn, with their strong masculine lungs; the clubs 
were let fall, and, the hymn ended, they dispersed 
harmlessly. 



458 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

James Silk went to sea in the Lady Harriet, a Govern- 
ment packet. On his third voyage to Lisbon he was 
captured by a French corvette and assigned to prison 
at Corunna ; he was then about ten years old, and the 
gaoler's daughter of the same age fell in love with him, 
and softened the rigour of his captivity by bringing 
him dainties from her father's table. She tried to 
induce the boy to elope with her, but James had suffi- 
cient English common sense not to accept the offer, and 
finally he was sent to Lisbon, obliged to tramp the 
whole way, several hundred miles, barefooted, and 
begging food and a lodging on his way. At Lisbon he 
was taken on board the Prince of Wales, and returned 
to England, where his mother induced him to leave the 
sea, and provided him with a small stationer's and 
bookseller's shop on the Fish Strand, Falmouth. His 
mother died in 1804, and when James Silk was aged 
only nineteen he married Elizabeth Jennings, a farmer's 
daughter. He got tired of being a shopkeeper and 
volunteered on board a man-of-war ; but on seeing a 
seaman flogged round the fleet for mutiny, was so dis- 
gusted with the sight that he deserted, and started a book- 
shop at Plymouth Dock. However one of the trustees 
of his wife's inheritance had speculated with the money 
in smuggling ventures and lost all, so that J. S. Buck- 
ingham became bankrupt. He went to sea again, and 
was appointed chief officer on board the Titus, bound 
for Trinidad, Captain Jennings, perhaps a kinsman of 
his wife. 

At the age of twenty-two he became commander of 
a vessel, and made several voyages to the West Indies 
and in the Mediterranean. In these latter he rapidly 
acquired a knowledge of and even fluency in speech in 
French, Italian, Greek, and Arabic, and this determined 
him to undertake mercantile life at Malta; but the 



JAMES SILK BUCKINGHAM 459 

plague having broken out there in 1818, he was pre- 
vented from landing, and resolved to try his fortune at 
Smyrna, but was unsuccessful. He then went to 
Alexandria, and thence to Cairo, where he made the 
acquaintance and gained the esteem of Mahomet Ali, 
then Pasha of Egypt. 

He now formed the scheme of connecting the Red 
Sea with the Mediterranean by a canal, and for this 
purpose surveyed the Isthmus of Suez and convinced 
himself that the cutting of such a waterway was quite 
feasible, and that such a connection would be of enor- 
mous advantage to English trade with India. He laid 
his plans before Mahomet Ali. "No sooner had the 
idea of renewing the ancient commerce between India 
and the Mediterranean by way of the Red Sea taken 
possession of my mind," wrote Buckingham, "than 
I began to think how much this would be facilitated by 
the juncture of the two seas by a navigable canal ; and 
I bent all my thoughts to the object." But Mahomet 
Ali would not hear of the project. He shrewdly asked, 
"Whose ships would mostly use the canal?" 

" The English vessels assuredly." 

"Ah! and then the English would begin to think 
how nice it would be to have Egypt so as to secure the 
passage. I am not going to sharpen the knife that 
would cut my own throat." 

The Pasha had a plan of his own ; he had purchased 
two beautiful American brigs then in the harbour of 
Alexandria, and he proposed arming them and sending 
them round the Cape of Good Hope into the Red Sea, 
for he desired to open up a trade with Egypt from India. 
But Buckingham pointed out to him that he could not 
do this without great risk of losing them, as the East 
India Company had supreme command of all the 
Indian Ocean eastward of the Cape, and would seize 



46o CORNISH CHARACTERS 

and confiscate all vessels found in those seas without 
their licence, French and Portuguese vessels alone 
excepted. 

James S. Buckingham now ascended the Nile beyond 
the cataracts to Nubia, but was there seized with ophthal- 
mic blindness. To add to his distress, on his way to 
Kosseir he was attacked in the desert by a band of 
mutineers of the army of the Pasha, who plundered 
and left him entirely naked on the barren waste, many 
miles from any village, food, or water ; and even when 
he reached Kosseir, he was obliged to retrace his steps, 
as the vessel which should have conveyed him forward 
had been seized by the mutineers. 

Buckingham next occupied himself with an endeavour 
to master the hydrography of the Red Sea, visiting 
every part in the costume of a Bedouin Arab. 

The Pasha now proposed to him that he" should go 
to India and sound the merchants there as to establish- 
ing a through trade to Europe by the Red Sea, and a 
Company of Anglo-Egyptian merchants took the matter 
up with zest. But on his proceeding to Bombay he 
found that the proposition was coldly received. 

Whilst there, in May, 1815, Buckingham had the offer 
of the command of the Humayoon Shah, a vessel built 
at the Portuguese port of Damann, north of Bombay, by 
the Imaum of Muscat, for trade with China. The retir- 
ing captain, named Richardson, in three successive 
voyages had cleared ;£'3o,ooo, and the situation had 
been sought by several of the marine officers of the East 
India Company. When these disappointed men heard 
that Buckingham had secured the appointment, they 
were angry, and applied to the Company to eject him 
from India and close every port there in their power 
against him. This they did by refusing him a licence 
to remain in India. 



JAMES SILK BUCKINGHAM 461 

The British Government, in granting a charter of 
exclusive trade to India and China to the East India 
Company, gave that Company thereby a right to 
expel from their dominions all British-born subjects 
who had not their licence to reside there, this being 
deemed necessary to protect them from the competition 
of " interlopers " as they were called, who might under- 
sell them in their own markets. But though the 
British Government might thus condemn all the twenty 
million of its own native-born subjects to this state of 
ignominious dependence on the will or caprice of a 
handful of monopolists, a body of some twenty-four 
directors only — in whose hands lay the power of grant- 
ing licences or banishing those who did not possess 
them — it could not authorize the exercise of such powers 
against the natives of any foreign state ; consequently 
James Silk Buckingham was advised to become 
nationalized as an American citizen, in which case the 
East India Company would be powerless to expel 
him. 

In point of fact, the case stood thus: all foreign- 
ers who had no natural claim on India as a part of 
their dominions might visit it freely and reside and 
trade in it as long as they pleased, without licence 
from its rulers ; whereas British-born subjects, who had 
contributed by their payment of taxes to support the 
very Government that made the charter, were unjustly 
excluded, although the conquest of India had been 
made by British blood and British treasure, and the 
country was still held under the British flag. In 
• short, all foreigners were free men there, and the free- 
born Englishman alone was a slave. 

Buckingham so felt the iniquity of this system that 
later, when he came to England, he agitated and wrote 
against the continuance of the charter. 



462 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Buckingham returned to Egypt and occupied himself 
with making a chart of the Red Sea. But the Anglo- 
Egyptian merchants, not relishing their defeat by the 
East India Company, entered into a compact with 
Mahomet Ali to send Buckingham to India as his 
envoy and representative ; and as such the Company 
could not refuse to allow him to reside there. Accord- 
ingly, habited as a Mussulman, turbaned and long- 
robed, with his speaking eye, jovial face, and dark, flowing 
beard, he looked every inch of him a true-born Oriental, 
and his extraordinary knowledge of various languages 
stood him in good stead as he made his way overland 
to India, by Palestine and Bagdad. Proceeding still 
on his course, he entered Persia, crossed the chain of 
the Zagros, and embarked at Bushir in a man-of-war of 
the East India Company that was bound on an ex- 
pedition against some Wahabee pirates in the Persian 
Gulf, and going ashore at Ras el Khyma, acted as inter- 
preter to Captain Brydges, Commander of the Squadron, 
assisted in bombarding the town, and then proceeded 
to Bombay, which he reached after a journey of twelve 
months. But his mission was again unsuccessful ; 
either the Bombay merchants had no confidence in the 
Egyptian Government, or they were jealous of any 
interference with their own line of trade. 

Now, however, the Company's licence reached him, 
authorizing him to remain in their territories, and he 
regained the appointment to the vessel Humayoon 
Shah, in the service of the Imaum of Muscat, and he 
remained navigating the Eastern waters till Midsummer, 
1818, when, having received commands from the Imaum 
to proceed to the coast of Zanzibar, on a slaving ex- 
pedition, he threw up his engagement, worth £ifyoiQ 
per annum, rather than be implicated in such a nefarious 
trade. 



JAMES SILK BUCKINGHAM 463 

Buckingham next became proprietor and editor of 
the Calcutta Mirror, a Liberal paper, that instantly 
obtained an extensive sale, and brought in to its founder 
a net profit of ^8000 a year. But his resolute advocacy 
of Free Trade, free settlement, and free Press, and an 
exposure of the misdoings of the East India Company, 
brought down on him the heavy hand of Mr. John 
Adams, the temporary Governor-General. His paper 
was suppressed, and he was ordered to quit Calcutta. 
His little fortune was sacrificed in a vain attempt to 
fight the Governor and the Company, and he was 
thrown back on the world, almost as poor, save in 
experience, as when a youth he trudged from Corunna 
to Lisbon. He left his magnificent library at Calcutta, 
in the hopes of being able to return, after having 
obtained redress at home. But the redress he hoped 
for never came. Too many interests were involved to 
accord it to him, and his library, like his fortune and 
his hopes, was wrecked. 

It was not till after many dreary years, that the East 
India Company, under pressure from the Government, 
could be induced, as an indemnity for the wrongs 
done him, to accord him an annuity of ;£^200, in addition 
to one of the like amount awarded him by the British 
Government, "in consideration of his literary works, 
and useful travels in various countries," September ist, 
1851. " Pompey and Cjesar berry much alike." 

" The blow to him at Calcutta was altogether a very 
savage one," says Mr. S. C. Hall, "but, like all in- 
justice, it recoiled at length on those who gave it. 
From the hour that Buckingham was driven from that 
city (Calcutta), the power of the great Indian monopoly, 
both commercial and governmental, was doomed. It 
was by no means his case alone which accomplished 
that doom. But oppression and vindictiveness, by 



464 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

driving him home, made him for a time the repre- 
sentative there of voices that never entirely slept ; 
whilst the impolicy that had aroused them was 
persevered in to the last — not ceasing, even after the 
trade was thrown open, but at length provoking that 
rebellion which was followed by John Company finally 
having to make an assignment of his whole estate and 
effects to John Bull." In England Buckingham started 
the Athenceum, a literary weekly, but did not long 
retain it in his hand ; he was not, in fact, qualified for 
its editorship. He was a Liberal politician avant tout, 
and a litterateur only in a second or third place. 

In 1832, the Reform Bill was passed, and the same 
general election that sent Wm. Cobbett to the House 
of Commons for Oldham, sent James S. Buckingham 
from Sheffield, for the avowed purpose of giving him 
the best standpoint possible from which to assail the 
East Indian monopoly. That Company had never 
made a more fatal mistake than when it persecuted and 
drove him from India. Buckingham was a theme for 
caricature in Punch from 1845-1848. 

It is open to question whether the East India Com- 
pany could have engaged J. S. Buckingham's services 
if, instead of hounding him out of India, they had en- 
deavoured to secure a man of such exceptional ability 
and intense resolution of purpose in its service. In 
heart and soul he was opposed to a monopoly, and if 
he had been engaged, he would have accepted an en- 
gagement only for the purpose of remedying some of the 
abuses of their government, and rectifying some of the 
injustices done. But he was so utterly and conscien- 
tiously opposed to the whole system, that it is more 
than doubtful whether he would have met favourably 
any overtures made to him. 

In England an excellent conception of his, which he 



JAMES SILK BUCKINGHAM 465 

was able to realize, was the foundation of the " British 
and Foreign Institute." To this he was moved by 
seeing so many Orientals and others adrift in London, 
without any centre where they could meet and com- 
municate their ideas with statesmen and politicians of 
Great Britain, and where they might gather for refresh- 
ment of mind and body alike. The Duke of Cam- 
bridge became President, and the Society attracted to 
its soirees the literary and intellectual of all lands. 

His pen and his voice were employed for some years 
in advocating reforms. 

He died on June 20th, 1855, in his seventieth year, 
and his wife died in the house of her son-in-law, Henry 
R. Dewey, 22nd January, 1865, at the age of eighty. 

It is greatly to be regretted that he did not live to 
complete his Memoirs. He had two sons — James, who 
died in Jamaica, 1867, and Leicester Forbes Young 
Buckingham, who ran away with an actress, Caroline 
Connor, and married her at Gretna Green, 5th April, 
1844. She had made her first appearance on the 
London stage at the Haymarket Theatre in 1842. 
The marriage was not happy and they separated, she 
to return to the stage, where she acted under the 
name of Mrs. Buckingham White. He died at 
Margate 17th July, 1867. 



2 H 



MARY ANN DAVENPORT, ACTRESS 

MARY ANN HARVEY was born in 
Launceston in 1759, and was educated at 
Bath, where she was seized with a pas- 
sion for the stage, and made her first 
appearance on the boards at Bath as Lappet in The 
Miser in 1779. 

She remained at Bath two years, and during her 
residence there is thus described by an eye-witness of 
her performances: "Miss Harvey, about the years 
1785 and 1786, was a lively, animated, bustling actress; 
arch, and of exuberant spirits. Her style was pointed 
and energetic ; perhaps, indeed, she had less ease than 
was altogether the thing ; but when she had to speak 
satirically or in irony — when, in fact, she had to con- 
vey one idea to the person on the stage with her and 
another to the audience, she was alone and inimit- 
able ; she did not carry you away with her so much as 
many young actresses that I have seen, but she always 
satisfied you more amply. Then her voice — what a 
voice hers was ! Nay, what a voice she has still, 
though it has had a pretty fair exercise for the last half 
century and upwards. Then it had all the clearness 
for which it is even now distinguishable ; and it had, 
besides, a witching softness of tone that knew no equal 
then, and that I have never heard exceeded since." 

There .was an espiegle charm about her ; she was not 
exactly beautiful, but had a witchery of face and of 
manner that was unsurpassed by any of her fellow- 

466 





3 n rise Clhfli-fl'L''ti°T- of M '''' ■(^.n.ij'icJ r 



MARY ANN DAVENPORT, ACTRESS 467 

actresses, who may have possessed more regularity of 
feature. 

She was not baptized at Launceston, S. Mary Mag- 
dalen. Harvey was a common name at the time in 
the place ; a Harvey was a builder, another a hat- 
maker, another a carrier. There were a Joseph Harvey 
and Catherine Penwarden married 27th January, 1756. 
These may have been her parents. 

After leaving Bath, Miss Harvey joined the Exeter 
company, and there met and married Mr. Davenport, 
an actor of ordinary talent and low comedy. 

After she had been married a short while, Mrs. 
Davenport went to Birmingham, where she remained 
a considerable time in hopes of obtaining an engage- 
ment. But disappointed in this expectation, she ac- 
cepted an offer from Dublin, where Daly had opened 
his theatre, and there she made her debut as Rosalind 
in As You Like It, a character exactly suited to her, 
and in which she aroused great enthusiasm. Her 
graceful figure, her voice, now full of tenderness, then 
of arch humour, and her expressive face admirably 
suited the part. She moreover performed the part of 
Fulmer in the West Indian. The Authentic Memoirs of 
the Green Room for 1796 says: " Mrs. Davenport a toler- 
able substitute for Mrs. Webb, though not near so great. 

The Davenports, tho' not of play'rs the first, 
Are far from being in old folks the worst." 

In 1794 she first performed at Covent Garden, as 
Mrs. Hardcastle, in She Stoops to Conquer, and at 
that theatre she continued without a rival till 1831, and 
occasionally filled up vacancies at the Haymarket. Mr. 
Davenport died in 1841 ; by him she had a son and a 
daughter. The former died in India, the latter in 
England. 



468 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Robson, in The Old Playgoer ^ says : "Brunton being 
the tall 'walking gentleman,' there is no one else 
worth mentioning but dear, dear Davenport, most truly 
not least though last. Lord ! what a scream she would 
give if she knew I was about to show her up ! I can 
just remember Mrs. Mattocks and Miss Pope. • . . 
But Mrs. Davenport was the McTab, the Malaprop, 
the Nurse whose bantling, 'stinted and cried aye,' with 
a villainous pain in her back, and a man Peter to carry 
her fan ; the ' old mother Brulgruddery ' ; the Dame 
Ashfield with a ' damned bunch of keys,' who 
immortalized ' What will Missus Grundy say to 
that?' and would persuade a gentleman to put a 
ham under each arm and a turkey into his pocket ; 
Jeremy Diddler's beautiful maid at the foot of the hill, 
who ' blushed like a red cabbage ' ; heigho ! all visions — 
all gone. 

" It was said of Mrs. Jordan that her laugh would have 
made the fortune of any actress if she had not had the 
wit to bring out one word to support it ; but Mrs. Daven- 
port's strong point was her scream. I wonder whether 
she ever indulged her husband with it in the course 
of a curtain lecture ! Mercy on his nerves if she did ! 
The appearance of her jolly red face was the presage 
of mirth, and her scream the signal for a roar of 
laughter. Good, cheerful soul ! though an old woman 
forty years, she outlived nearly all her play-fellows, 
comfortably, happily, I hope."^ 

As an old lady her most celebrated personifications 
were the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, at which, in later 
times, she was hardly surpassed by Mrs. Stirling. 

The writer of the memoir in the Georgian ^ra says 
of her : " It has not been inaptly said of her, that in 
the vulgar loquacity of the would-be youthful Mrs. 

' The Old Playgoer, 1854, pp. 82-4. 



MARY ANN DAVENPORT, ACTRESS 469 

Hardcastle — the ugliness of the antiquated virgin, Miss 
Durable— the imbecility of four score in Mrs. Nicely 
— the sturdy brutality of Mrs. Brulgruddery — the 
warm-hearted cottager in Lovers' Vows — the attempted 
elegances of Mrs. Dowlas — the fiery humoured Dame 
Quickly — and the obtuse intellect of Deborah, she 
overcame all rivalry." 

In the edition of the Authentic Memoirs of the Green 
Room for 1806 it is said, after a mention of Mr. 
Davenport: "Wife to the above, and of primary 
utility in a theatre as the representative of low, vulgar, 
and antiquated characters. In this line she has not 
her superior on the London stage. Her Mrs. Thome 
in the Birthday, Lady Duberly in the Heir at Law, 
Dame Ashfield in Speed the Plough, Widow Warren 
in The Road to Ruin, Widow Cheshire in the Agreeable 
Surprise, Mrs. Pickle in the Spoiled Child, with a long 
and diversified list of parts of a similar description, 
deservedly rated high in the scale of histrionic excel- 
lence — and what greatly enhances her value, she is not 
less to be prized for the generality than for the inten- 
sive merit of her performances. Wide and extensive 
as is the range of parts which she sustains, there is not 
a single character in the whole list in which she does 
not acquit herself with distinguished talent and ability." 

This bright and merry actress was run over by a 
dray on July 20th, 1841, and died in S. Bartholomew's 
Hospital on May 8th, 1843, after a lingering illness, at 
the age of eighty-four. 



THE ROYAL FAMILY OF PRUSSIA 

OVER against Mousehole, across the great 
bay of Penzance, is Cudden Point, jutting 
out into the sea, forming one horn of a 
promontory of which the Enys forms the 
other, looking in the opposite direction. Between 
these two lie three little coves, that of the Pixies, too 
exposed and rocky for a harbour, but with its sides 
riddled with caves. 

" Bessie's, called after Bessie Burrow, who kept the 
Kidleywink on the cliff, which was the great resort of 
the smugglers, bears on its face to-day the traces of its 
history. A spot so sheltered and secluded that it is 
impossible to see what boats are in the little harbour 
until one literally leans over the edge of the cliff 
above ; a harbour cut out of the solid rock, and a 
roadway with wheel tracks partly cut and partly worn, 
crossing the rocks below high-water mark ; and, climb- 
ing up the face of the cliff on each side of the cove, 
caves and remains of caves everywhere, some with 
their mouths built up, which are reputed to be con- 
nected with the house above by secret passages. 
These are the trade marks of Bessie's Cove, and the 
world has not yet known the degree of innocence 
which could believe that these were made for the con- 
venience of a few crabbers. 

"The eastern and the most open is Prussia Cove. 
Here still stands to-day the house in which John 

470 







- 'ij 
O^ 



THE ROYAL FAMILY OF PRUSSIA 471 

Carter, 'the King of Prussia,' lived and reigned from 
1770 to 1807."! 

The origin of the Carter family is obscure. It is 
supposed to have come from Shropshire, and the name 
is not Cornish. But what could have brought it to 
this wild and remote spot in the south-west is quite 
unknown. The father, Francis Carter, was born in 
17 1 2 and died in 1774, and his wife, Agnes, died in 
1784. They had eight sons and two daughters. The 
eldest of the sons was John, the famous Cornish King 
of Prussia. He obtained this nickname in the follow- 
ing manner : He and other boys were playing at 
soldiers, and the renown of Frederick the Great 
having reached him, John dubbed himself the King 
of Prussia, and the title not only adhered to him 
through life, but he has bequeathed the name of 
Prussia to the cove, which formerly bore that of 
Porthleah. 

John Carter, when he grew to man's estate, made 
himself fame as a daring smuggler, and he was ably 
seconded by his brother Henry, who contrived to his 
own satisfaction to combine perfervid piety with cheat- 
ing the customs. 

Smuggling in those days was carried on upon a 
large scale, in cutters and luggers armed with eighteen 
or twenty guns apiece. Harry Carter, in his auto- 
biography, says : "I think I might have been twenty- 
five when I went in a small sloop about sixteen or 
eighteen tons, with two men besides myself as 
smugglers, when I had very great success, and after 
a while I had a new sloop built for me, about thirty-two 
tons. My success was rather beyond common, and 
after a time we bought a small cutter of about fifty 
tons, and about ten men." The measurements at 

' J. B. Cornish in the Cornish Magazine, 1898, p. 121. 



472 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

the present day would be ten, eighteen, and thirty 
tons. 

John Carter was never caught. On one occasion 
the revenue officers came to his house and demanded 
to ransack his sheds. One of these was locked, and 
he refused to surrender the key, whereupon they broke 
it open, but found that it contained only household 
articles. As they were unable to refasten the door, 
the shed remained open all night, and by morning 
everything it had contained had disappeared. The 
"King" thereupon sued the officers for all his goods 
that had been taken from him. It is perhaps needless 
to say that he had himself conveyed them away. The 
officers had to refund the losses. 

On one occasion when John Carter was absent from 
home, the excise officers from Penzance came to 
Prussia Cove in their boats and succeeded in securing 
a cargo lately arrived from France. They carried it 
to Penzance and placed it under lock and key in the 
custom-house. Carter, on his return, heard of the 
capture. He was highly incensed, for the brandy had 
all been promised to some of the gentry round, and 
he was not the man to receive an order and fail to 
execute it. Accordingly, he made up his mind to re- 
cover the whole cargo. Assisted by his mates, in the 
night he broke into the custom-house store and re- 
moved every barrel that had been taken from him. 

Next morning, when the officers saw what had been 
done, they knew who the perpetrator was, for nothing 
had been touched and removed but what the " King" 
claimed as his own ; and these smugglers prided them- 
selves on being "all honourable men." 

The most famous episode in John Carter's career was 
his firing on the boat of the revenue cutter The Faery. 
A smuggling vessel, hard pressed, ran through a 



THE ROYAL FAMILY OF PRUSSIA 473 

narrow channel among the rocks between the Enys and 
the shore. The cutter, not daring to venture nearer, 
sent her boat in ; whereupon Carter opened fire upon 
her from an improvised battery in which he had 
mounted several small cannon. The boat had to with- 
draw. Next morning the fight was resumed, The Faery 
opening fire from the sea. But in the meantime 
mounted soldiers from Penzance had arrived, and these 
fired from the top of the hill upon those working the 
guns in the battery, taking them in the rear. This was 
more than the smugglers could stand, and they 
retreated to Bessie Burrow's house, and were not 
further molested, the soldiers contenting themselves 
with remounting their horses and riding back to Pen- 
zance. Unfortunately, with regard to John Carter, the 
" King of Prussia," we have but scattered notices and 
tradition to rely upon ; but it is otherwise with his 
brother Henry, who has left an autobiography that 
has been transcribed and published by Mr. J. B. 
Cornish under the title The Autobiography of a Cornish 
Smuggler, London (Gibbons and Co.), 1900. 

But Harry Carter is somewhat reticent about the 
doings of the smugglers, and avoids giving names, for 
when he wrote "free trade" was in full swing. He 
wrote in i8og, when John his brother and the "Cove 
boys " were still at it, and Prussia Cove had not ceased 
to be a great centre of smugglers. He is much more 
concerned to record his religious experiences, all of 
which we could well spare for fuller details of the 
goings-on of his brothers and their comrades. 

In 1778 an embargo was laid on all English trade, 
when the French Government made a treaty with the 
States of America, and not knowing of this, Henry 
Carter was arrested at S. Malo, and his cutter, with 
sixteen guns and thirty-six men, taken from him. He 



474 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

was sent to the prison at Dinan ; and in like manner 
his brother John was taken, and they were allowed to 
remain on parole at Josselin till the November of 1779, 
when they were exchanged by order of the Lords of 
the Admiralty for two French gentlemen. "So, after 
I was at home some time, riding about the country 
getting freights, collecting money for the company, 
etc., we bought a cutter about 160 tons (50 tons), nine- 
teen guns. I went in her some time smuggling. I 
had great success." 

In January, 1788, he went with a freight to Cawsand 
in a lugger of 45 tons in modern measurement, and 
mounting sixteen carriage guns. But he was boarded, 
and so cut about the head, and his nose nearly severed 
in two, that he fell bleeding on the deck. 

' ' I suppose I might have been there about a quarter 
of an hour, until they had secured my people below, 
and after found me lying on the deck. One of them 
said, ' Here is one of the poor fellows dead.' Another 
made answer, 'Put the man below.' He answered 
again, 'What use is it to put a dead nian below?' and 
so passed on. So I laid there very quiet for near the 
space of two hours, hearing their discourse as they 
walked by me, the night being very dark on the 30th 
January, 1788. The commanding officer gave orders 
for a lantern to be brought, so they took up one of my 
legs as I was lying upon my belly ; he let it go, and 
it fell as dead down on the deck. He likewise put his 
hand up under my clothes, between my shirt and my 
skin, and then examined my head, and so concluded, 
saying, ' The man is so warm now as he was two hours 
back, but his head is all to atoms.' The water being 
ebbing, the vessel (that was grounded) making a great 
heel to the shore, so that in the course of a very little 
time after, as their two boats was made fast alongside. 



THE ROYAL FAMILY OF PRUSSIA 475 

one of them broke adrift. Immediately there was 
orders given to man the other boat in order to fetch 
her, so that when I saw them in this state of confusion, 
their guard broken, I thought it was my time to make 
my escape, so I crept on my belly on the deck, and got 
over a large raft just before the mainmast, close by 
one of the men's heels, as he was standing there hand- 
ing the trysail. When I got over the lee -side I 
thought I should be able to swim on shore in a stroke 
or two. I took hold of the burtons of the mast, and 
as I was lifting myself over the side I was taken with 
the cramp in one of my thighs. So then I thought 
I should be drowned, but still willing to risk it, so that 
I let myself over the side very easily by a rope into the 
water. As I was very near the shore, I thought to 
swim on shore in the course of a stroke or two, but 
soon found my mistake. I was sinking almost like a 
stone, and hauling astern in deeper water, when I 
gave up all hopes of life and began to swallow some 
water. I found a rope under my breast, so that I had 
not lost my senses. I hauled upon it, and soon found 
one end fast to the side just where I went overboard, 
which gave me a little hope of life. So that when I 
got there, I could not tell which was best, to call to the 
man-of-war's men to take me in, or to stay there and 
die, for my life and strength were almost exhausted. 
But whilst I was thinking of this, touched bottom with 
my feet. Hope then sprang up, and I soon found 
another rope, leading towards the head of the vessel in 
shoaler water, so that I veered upon one and hauled 
upon the other, that brought me under the bowsprit, 
and then at times upon the send of a sea, my feet were 
almost dry. I let go the rope, but as soon as I 
attempted to run fell down, and as I fell, looking round 
about me, I saw three men standing close by. I knew 



476 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

they were the man-of-war's men seeking for the boat, 
so I lay there quiet for some little time, and then crept 
upon my belly I suppose about the distance of fifty 
yards, and as the ground was scuddy, some flat rock 
mixed with channels of sand, I saw before me a channel 
of white sand, and for fear to be seen creeping over 
it, which would take some time, not knowing there was 
anything the matter with me, made the second attempt 
to run, and fell in the same manner as before. 

"My brother Charles being there, looking out for 
the vessel, desired some Cawsand men to go down 
to see if they could pick up any of the men dead or 
alive, not expecting ever to see me any more, almost 
sure I was either shot or drowned. One oif them saw 
me fall, ran to my assistance, and taking hold of me 
under the arm, says, * Who are you? ' So, as I thought 
him to be an enemy, made no answer. He said, ' Fear 
not ; I am a friend. Come with me. ' And by that 
time were come two more, which took me under both 
arms, and the other pushed me in the back, and so 
dragged me up to the town. My strength was almost 
exhausted. They took me into a room where were 
seven or eight Cawsand men and my brother Charles, 
and when he saw me he knew me by my great coat, 
and cried with joy. So then they immediately stripped 
off my wet clothes, and sent for a doctor and put me 
to bed. The bone of my nose was cut right in two, 
nothing but a bit of skin holding it, and two very large 
cuts in my head, that two or three pieces of my skull 
worked out of afterwards." 

He was now hurried off in a chaise to his brother 
Charles' house, where he remained for a week. Then 
as a reward of three hundred pounds was offered for his 
apprehension, he was conveyed to a gentleman's 
house in Marazion, where he remained concealed for 



THE ROYAL FAMILY OF PRUSSIA 477 

two or three weeks, and thence was taken to Acton 
House, belonging to Mr. John Stackhouse, but only 
for a while, and shifted back to Marazion. Then 
again to the castle. The surgeon who was called in 
to attend him was blindfolded by the men sent to fetch 
him and conducted to the hiding-place of Henry 
Carter. 

In October he sailed for Leghorn, then on the same 
vessel loaded at Barcelona with brandy for New York. 
It was no longer safe for him to remain in England 
till the affair was blown over, and he did not return 
till October in the year 1790, and was soon again 
engaged in alternate preaching in Methodist chapels, 
and in smuggling brandy from Roscoff. On one of 
these excursions in 1793 he was arrested at Roscoff, as 
war had been declared between France and England. 
This was during the Reign of Terror, at a time when 
the Convention had decreed that no quarter should be 
given to an Englishman, and an English prisoner was 
placed on the same footing as a "suspect" or "aristo- 
crat," and stood a great chance of losing his head 
under the knife. He does not, however, seem to have 
been harshly treated, only moved about from place to 
place, sometimes in a prison, at others lodged in a 
private house ; a good many of his French fellow- 
prisoners, however, suffered death. In his own words 
and spelling: "There was numbers of gent and 
lades taken away to Brest that I parssially know, and 
their heads chopt off with the gulenteen with a very 
little notice." 

Robespierre was executed on 28th July, 1794; and 
soon after his death the Convention decreed the release 
of great numbers of "suspects" and other prisoners. 
It was not, however, till August, 1795, that Henry 
Carter got his passport and was able to leave. He 



478 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

arrived at Falmouth on August 22nd. " Arived on 
shore aboute three o'clock in the afternoon with much 
fear and trembling, where I meet with my dear little 
(daughter) Bettsy, there staying with her aunt, Mrs. 
Smythe, then between 8 and 9 years old, . . . 
I staid that night at Falmouth, the next morning went 
to Penryn with my dear little Bettsey in my hand. The 
next morning, on Sunday, took a horse and arrived at 
Breage Churchtown aboute eleven o'clock, where I 
meet my dear brother Frank, then in his way to church. 
As I first took him in surprise, at first I could harly 
make him sensable I was his brother, being nearley two 
years without hearing whether I was dead or alife. 
But when he come to himself as it were, we rejoiced to- 
gether with exceeding great joy indeed. We went to 
his house in Rinsey, and after dinner went to see 
brother John (in Prussia Cove). We sent him word 
before I was coming. But he could harly believe it. 
But first looking out with his glass saw me yet a long 
way off. Ran to meet me, fell upon my neck. We 
passed the afternoon with him, and in the evning went 
to Keneggy to see brother Charles." 

The autobiography ends abruptly in the year 1795, 
but the writer lived on until April 19th, 1829, spending 
the last thirty years of his life on a little farm at 
Rinsey. 

In addition to the two authorities quoted, both due to 
Mr. Cornish, there is a memoir of Henry Carter in the 
Wesleyan Methodist Magazine for October, 1831. 



CAPTAIN RICHARD KEIGWIN 

THE English East India Company had been 
founded December 31st, 1600, and it ob- 
tained from Queen Elizabeth the exclusive 
privilege for fifteen years of trading with 
India and all countries to the east of the Cape of Good 
Hope, in Africa and in Asia. The first settlement 
effected was at Surat in 161 2, by Captain Thomas 
Best, who defeated the Portuguese in two battles. But 
through the jealousy of the Dutch and their encroach- 
ments, and the disturbances in England caused by the 
Great Rebellion, the East India Company fell to decay. 
Although Cromwell in 1657 renewed its privileges, the 
English made little headway. On April 3rd, 1661, 
Charles II confirmed and renewed all the ancient 
privileges, and handed over to the Company Bombay, 
which he had received from Spain as the portion of 
Catherine of Braganza. 

Dr. Fryer, a surgeon in the service of the Company, 
travelled in India between 1673 and 1681, and has left 
some graphic descriptions of it. He sailed from 
Madras to Bombay, passing up the Malabar coast, and 
noting how that the Dutch were elbowing the Portu- 
guese out of their posts. At last he entered the har- 
bour of Bombay, so called from its Portuguese name 
Bona-baija. He found there a Government House, with 
pleasant gardens, terraces, and bowers ; but the place 
had been meanly fortified, and the Malabar pirates 
often plundered the native villages and carried off the 

479 



48o CORNISH CHARACTERS 

inhabitants as slaves. However, the Company took 
the place vigorously in hand, loaded the terraces with 
cannon, and built ramparts over the bowers. When 
Fryer landed, Bombay Castle was mounted with a 
hundred and twenty pieces of ordnance, whilst sixty 
field-pieces were kept in readiness. The Dutch had 
made an attempt to capture Bombay, but had been 
repulsed. 

Bombay itself was an island, with a superb land- 
locked harbour, but it had at its back the great and 
powerful kingdom of the Mahrattas. 

But the vast expense of placing Bombay in a posi- 
tion of defence had been so inadequately met by the 
revenue derived from it, that the Company was dis- 
satisfied with its acquisition, and being, moreover, 
burdened with debt, it had recourse to the unhappy 
expedient of raising the taxation and reducing the 
officers' pay. It was ordered that the annual expenses 
of the island should be limited to ;f 7000 ; the military 
establishment was to be reduced to two lieutenants, two 
ensigns, four sergeants, as many corporals and 108 
privates. A troop of horse was to be disbanded, and 
Keigwin, the commandant, was dismissed. This was 
in 1678-9. 

Richard Keigwin was the third son of Richard 
Keigwin, of Penzance, and of his wife Margaret, 
daughter of Nicholas Godolphin, of Trewarveneth. 
The family was ancient and honourable. His great- 
grandfather, Jenkin Keigwin, had been killed by the 
Spaniards in 1595. Richard entered the Royal Navy, 
became a captain and then colonel of Marines, and 
was appointed Governor of S. Helena, then a posses- 
sion of the East India Company, by grant of Charles II. 
After that he was transferred to Bombay, and had the 
commandantship there. 



CAPTAIN RICHARD KEIGWIN 481 

He was highly offended at being thrust out of his 
position, and he, moreover, knew that Bombay was 
menaced by both the Sambhajee and the Siddee, both 
of whom were desirous of gaining a footing on the 
island, and each was jealous lest the other should 
anticipate him in its acquisition. 

In order that he might represent the danger that 
menaced of losing Bombay Captain Keigwin re- 
solved on reporting in person to the Company 
how matters stood, and he accordingly went to the 
directors and laid the case before them with such 
force that they consented to send him back to Bombay 
with the rank of captain-lieutenant, and he was to be 
third in the Council. But with singular capriciousness, 
in the following year, when Keigwin was at Bombay, 
they rescinded the order, reduced his pay to six shill- 
ings a day, without allowance for food and lodging, 
and made further reductions in the general pay and 
increase in the taxes. This embittered the garrison 
and the natives alike.^ 

' ' During the greater part of the reign of Charles the 
Second," says Macaulay, "the Company enjoyed a pros- 
perity to which the history of trade scarcely furnishes a 
parallel, and which excited the wonder, the cupidity, 
and the envious animosity of the whole capital. Wealth 
and luxury were then rapidly increasing, the taste for 
spices, the tissues and the jewels of the East, became 
stronger day by day ; tea, which at the time when Monk 
brought the army of Scotland to London had been 
handed round to be stared at and just touched with the 

1 The Company levied a duty of half a dollar upon all ships anchor- 
ing in the harbour, one rupee a year on each fishing'-boat, and the same 
on every ship. Lastly, with what seems unparalleled meanness, they 
ordered that only half of the native labourers' wages should be paid in 
coin, the other half in rice valued " at the Company's price," which 
would give ten per cent clear profit after all expenses had been defrayed. 

2 I 



482 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

lips, as a great rarity from China, was, eight years 
later, a regular article of import, and was soon con- 
sumed in such quantities that financiers began to 
consider it as a fit subject for taxation." Coffee, more- 
over, had become a fashionable drink, and the coffee- 
houses of London were the resorts of every description 
of club. But coffee came from Mocha, and the East 
India Company had sole right to import that, as it 
had absolute monopoly of the trade of the Indian Sea. 

Nor was that all ; vast quantities of saltpetre were 
imported into England from the East for the manu- 
facture of gunpowder. But for this supply our 
muskets and cannon would have been speechless. It 
was reckoned that all Europe would hardly produce in 
one year saltpetre sufficient for the siege of one town 
fortified on the principles of Vauban. 

The gains of the Company were enormous, so enor- 
mous as in no way to justify the cheeseparing that was 
had recourse to at Bombay. But these gains were not 
distributed among a large number of shareholders, but 
swelled the pockets of a few, for as the profits increased 
the number of holders of stock diminished. 

The man who obtained complete control over the 
affairs of the Company was Sir Josiah Child, who had 
risen from an apprentice who swept out one of the 
counting-houses in the City to great wealth and power. 
His brother John was given an almost uncontrolled 
hand at Surat. 

The Company had been popularly considered as a 
Whig body. Among the members of the directing 
committee had been found some of the most vehement 
exclusionists in the City, that is to say, those who had 
voted for the exclusion of James, Duke of York, from 
any claim to the crown of England on the decease of 
Charles II. This was an affront James was not likely 



CAPTAIN RICHARD KEIGWIN 483 

to forget and forgive. Indeed two of them, Sir Samuel 
Barnardiston and Thomas Papillon, drew on them- 
selves a severe persecution by their zeal against 
Popery and arbitrary power. 

The wonderful prosperity of the Company had ex- 
cited, as already intimated, the envy of the merchants 
in London and Bristol ; moreover, the people suffered 
from the monopoly being in the hands of a few stock- 
holders, who controlled the market. The Company 
was fiercely attacked from without at the same time 
that it was distracted by internal dissensions. 

Captain Keigwin now called upon the inhabitants of 
Bombay to take an oath of allegiance to the Cro"wn, 
and to renounce the Company and submission to its 
commands. With this the whole of the garrison, 
militia and inhabitants, complied ; the troops from 
expectation of relief from the grievances of which 
they had complained, and the inhabitants from antici- 
pating relief from taxation. 

Captain Keigwin and his associates then addressed a 
letter to His Majesty and to the Duke of York, express- 
ing their determination to maintain the island for the 
King till his pleasure should be known, and enumer- 
ating the causes which had impelled them to revolt — the 
principal being to prevent Bombay from being seized 
by the Siddee, or Admiral of the Mogul, who with a 
numerous fleet was lying near, or else by the Samb- 
hajee, the Mahratta rajah, who was watching his oppor- 
tunity to descend on Bombay and annex it. 

Captain Keigwin and the conspirators next repre- 
sented to the Court of Committee that the selfish 
scheme of Josiah Child in England, and of his brother 
John Child of Surat, had been at the bottom of the 
whole mischief which caused the disaffection, and 
added that both the garrison and inhabitants were 



484 GORNISH CHARACTERS 

determined to continue in allegiance to the Crown 
alone till the King's pleasure should be made known 
to them. 

But Keigwin was no match for the subtle and un- 
principled Sir Josiah Child and his brother John. 
Josiah had been originally brought into the direction 
of the Company by Barnardiston and Papillon, and was 
supposed, and he allowed it to be supposed, that he 
was as ardent a Whig as were they. He had for years 
stood high in the opinion of the chiefs of the Parlia- 
mentary opposition, and had been especially obnoxious 
to the Duke of York. 

There had for some time been interference with the 
monopoly by what were called "interlopers" or free 
traders, to the great vexation of the Company. These 
interlopers now determined to affect the character of 
loyal men, who were determined to stand by the Crown 
against the insolent Whigs of the Company. "They 
spread at all the factories in the East reports that 
England was in confusion, that the sword had been 
drawn or would immediately be drawn, and that the 
Company was forward in the rebellion against the 
Crown. These rumours, which in truth were not im- 
probable, easily found credit among people separated 
from London by what was then a voyage of twelve 
months. Some servants of the Company who were in 
ill humour with their employers, and others who were 
zealous Royalists, joined the primitive traders." 

On December 27th, 1683, Captain Keigwin, assisted 
by Ensign Thornburn and others, seized on Mr. Ward, 
the deputy governor, and such members of the Council 
as adhered to him, assembled the troops and the 
militia, pronounced the authority of the East India 
Company as at an end by formal proclamation, and 
declared the island to be placed under the King's im- 



CAPTAIN RICHARD KEIGWIN 485 

mediate protection. Thereupon the garrison, consist- 
ing of one hundred and fifty English soldiers and two 
hundred native topasses, and the inhabitants of the 
island, elected Keigwin to be governor, and appointed 
officers to the different companies, store-keepers, har- 
bour-masters, etc., declaring, however, that the Com- 
pany might, if their servants would acknowledge the 
King's government as proclaimed, proceed in their 
several avocations without molestation. Keigwin then 
took possession of the Company's ship Return and the 
frigate Huntley, and landed the treasure, amounting to 
fifty or sixty thousand rupees, which he lodged in the 
fort, and he published a declaration that it should be 
employed solely in the defence of the King's island and 
government. 

But Child looked ahead, and saw that inevitably 
James, Duke of York, at no very distant period would 
be King of England. The Whigs were cowed by the 
discovery of the Rye House Plot, and the execution of 
Lord Russell and Algernon Sidney. It was high time 
for Child to turn his coat, and this he did rapidly and 
with dexterity. He forced his two patrons, Barnardis- 
ton and Papillon, out of the Company, filled their 
places with creatures of his own, and established him- 
self as autocrat. Then he made overtures to the 
Court, to the King, and to the Duke of York, and he 
soon became a favourite at Whitehall, and the favour 
which he enjoyed at Whitehall confirmed his power at 
the India House. He made a present of ten thousand 
pounds to Charles, and another ten thousand pounds 
to James, who readily consented to become a holder of 
stock. "All who could help or hurt at Court," says 
Macaulay, "ministers, mistresses, priests, were kept in 
good humour by presents of shawls and silks, birds' 
nests and attar of roses, bulses of diamonds and bags 



486 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

of guineas. His bribes, distributed with judicious 
prodigality, speedily produced a large return. Just 
when the Court became all-powerful in the State, he 
became all-powerful at the Court. " 

Against such machinations as these Keigwin was 
powerless. Whatever Child asked should be done to 
maintain the authority of the Company was granted. 
Keigwin had appealed to hear the will of the King. 
The King's answer was but the echo of the voice of 
Child. 

On the 31st January, 1683-4, President John 
Child from Surat arrived off Bombay with some 
commissioners, and met Keigwin with offers of pardon 
for his rebellion, but the offer was indignantly refused. 
Keigwin would deal with no one but the King himself, 
and some plain truths were told to John Child, that it 
was he and his brother, by their greed after gold and 
indifference to the welfare of the settlement, that caused 
all the trouble. The consultation lasted till March, 
1683-4, ^nd then Child had to return to Surat, without 
having effected anything. 

In the meantime the Court of Directors sent in a 
report to the King, on 15th August, 1684, with a long 
statement of its grievances, and a claim for protection, 
according to the charter of the Society. 

Charles II could do no other than order that the 
island should be delivered over to the Presidency of 
Surat, and a Commission under the Great Seal was 
issued to President Child and to the commanders of 
the Company's ships, empowering them to receive the 
surrender of Bombay from Keigwin and his asso- 
ciates and to offer a generous pardon to all, except the 
four ringleaders, who should within twenty-four hours 
after notice return to their duty. 

Captain Tyrell, with H.M.S. Phosnix, frigate, was 



CAPTAIN RICHARD KEIGWIN 487 

despatched, with Sir Thomas Graham as admiral, 
to settle the aifair. 

But Captain Keigwin had no idea of resistance. It 
had been further ordered that if Keigwin and his fol- 
lowers should attempt opposition, all should be de- 
nounced as rebels, and a reward of 4000 rupees should 
be paid to any one who should deliver up Keigwin, 
and 2000 for Alderton, and 200 for Fletcher. 

Sir Thomas Graham arrived in the Bay of Bombay 
on the loth November, 1684, and with great prompti- 
tude landed without attendants, and had a conference 
with Keigwin, who protested that he had only revolted 
against the misgovernment of the Company, and to 
save Bombay from being seized by one or other of the 
Indian princes who were aiming to secure it. He at 
once accepted the offer made to him of pardon, and 
surrendered Bombay. He went on board the vessel of 
Sir Thomas Graham and arrived in England in July, 
1685. 

During his enjoyment of power Captain Keigwin 
had acted with integrity and wisely and judiciously. 
He had relations with the native princes, and he showed 
an amount of prudence and clear judgment that 
eventually greatly benefited the East India Company. 
He induced Sambhajee, the Mahratta rajah, to per- 
mit the establishment of factories in the Carnatic 
and allow them 12,000 pagodas as compensation for 
losses sustained at places plundered by the Mahrattas. 
Keigwin repressed the insolence of the Mogul admiral, 
Siddee, with decision, and would neither suffer him 
to keep his fleet at Mazapore, nor even to go there, 
except for water. In fact, had the Company known it, 
they had in Keigwin an admirable servant, a Clive 
before the time of that hero. 

But the directors were a number of commercial 



488 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

speculators who saw no further than a few years before 
them, and were eager at once to be rich. They cast 
this man aside, who, had they employed him, would 
have made India theirs ; and, a disappointed man, he 
entered the Royal Navy and died at the taking of 
S. Kitts, in the West Indies, in command of H.M.S. 
Assistance, 22nd June, 1689. 

It is one of the great mysteries of life and death that 
men who might have revolutionized the world are 
swept aside and hardly anything is recorded concern- 
ing them. Richard Keigwin was one such, full of 
self-confidence, vigour of character, restraint, and 
judgment. But he lived at a time and under a reign 
in which there was no appreciation of merit, and cor- 
ruption and self-interest bore him down. 



THE LOSS OF THE "KENT" 

THE Kent, Captain Henry Cobb, 1350 tons, 
bound for Bengal and China, left the Downs 
on 19th February, 1825, with 20 officers, 344 
soldiers, 43 women, and 66 children belong- 
ing to the 31st Regiment ; 20 private passengers and 
a crew, including officers, of 148 men on board, making 
in all 641 souls. 

A gale came on in the Bay of Biscay, and the ship 
rolled greatly. On ist March the dead weight of some 
hundred tons of shot and shells, pressed so heavily 
with the rolling that the main chains were thrown 
by every lurch under water ; and the best cleated 
articles of furniture in the cabin and the cuddy 
(the large dining apartment) were dashed from side 
to side. 

One of the officers of the ship, with the well-meant 
intention of ascertaining that all was fast below, de- 
scended with two of the sailors into the hold, whither 
they carried with them for safety a light in a patent 
lantern ; and seeing that the lamp was burning dimly, 
the officer took the precaution to hand it up to the 
orlop deck to be trimmed. Having afterwards dis- 
covered that one of the spirit casks was adrift, he sent 
a sailor for some billets of wood to secure it, but the 
ship in his absence having made a heavy lurch, the 
officer unfortunately dropped the light, and letting go 
of his hold of the cask in his eagerness to recover the 
lantern, it suddenly stove, and, the spirits communi- 

489 



490 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

eating with the lamp, the whole place was instantly in 
a blaze. 

Major (afterwards Sir Duncan) McGregor, who was 
on board at the time with his wife and family, says : — 

" I received from Captain Spence, the captain of the 
day, the alarming information that the ship was on fire 
in the after-hold. On hastening to the hatchway 
whence smoke was slowly ascending, I found Captain 
Cobb and other officers already giving orders, which 
seemed to be promptly obeyed by seamen and troops, 
who were using every exertion by means of the pumps, 
buckets of water, wet sails, hammocks, etc., to ex- 
tinguish the flames. With a view to excite the ladies' 
alarm as little as possible, on conveying the intelligence 
to Colonel Faron, the commanding officer of the troops, 
I knocked gently at the cabin door, and expressed a 
wish to speak with him ; but whether my countenance 
betrayed the state of my feelings, or the increasing 
noise and confusion upon deck created apprehension, 
I found it difficult to pacify some of the ladies by 
assurances that no danger whatever was to be appre- 
hended from the gale. As long as the devouring 
element appeared to be confined to the spot where the 
fire had originated, and which we were assured was 
surrounded on all sides by water-casks, we ventured to 
cherish hopes that it might be subdued ; but no sooner 
was the light blue vapour that at first arose succeeded 
by volumes of black dingy smoke, which speedily 
ascended through all the four hatchways, rolled over 
every part of the ship, than all further concealment 
became impossible, and almost all hope of preserving 
the vessel was abandoned. 

"In these awful circumstances, Captain Cobb, with 
an ability and decision of character that seemed to in- 
crease with the imminence of the danger, resorted to 



THE LOSS OF THE "KENT" 491 

the only alternative now left him — of ordering the lower 
decks to be scuttled, the combing of the hatches to be 
cut, and the lower ports to be opened, for the free 
admission of the waves. 

"These instructions were speedily executed by the 
united efforts of the troops and seamen ; but not 
before some of the sick soldiers, one woman, and 
several children, unable to gain the upper deck, had 
perished. On descending to the gun-deck with one or 
two officers of the 31st Regiment to assist in opening 
the ports, I met, staggering towards the hatchway, 
in an exhausted and nearly senseless state, one of the 
mates, who informed us that he had just stumbled 
over the dead bodies of some individuals who must 
have died of suffocation, to which it was evident that 
he himself had almost fallen a victim. So dense and 
oppressive was the smoke that it was with the utmost 
difficulty we could remain long enough below to fulfil 
Captain Cobb's wishes ; which were no sooner accom- 
plished than the sea rushed in with extraordinary force, 
carrying away in its restless progress to the hold the 
largest chests, bulkheads, etc." 

The immense quantity of water that was thus intro- 
duced into the vessel had, indeed, for a time the effect 
of checking the fury of the flames ; but the danger 
of sinking was increased as the risk of explosion, 
should the fire reach the powder, was diminished. The 
ship became water-logged, and presented other indica- 
tions of settling previous to going down. 

" The upper deck was covered with between six and 
seven hundred human beings, many of whom from 
previous sea-sickness were forced on the first alarm 
from below in a state of absolute nakedness, and were 
now running about in quest of husbands, children, or 
parents. While some were standing in silent resigna- 



492 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

tion or in stupid insensibility to their impending fate, 
others were yielding themselves up to the most frantic 
despair. Several of the soldiers' wives and children, 
who had fled for temporary shelter into the after cabins 
on the upper decks, were engaged in prayer with the 
ladies, some of whom were enabled, with wonderful 
self-possession, to offer to others spiritual consolation ; 
and the dignified deportment of two young ladies in 
particular formed a specimen of natural strength of 
mind finely modified by Christian feeling. 

' ' Among the numerous objects that struck my ob- 
servation at the period, I was much affected by the 
appearance and conduct of some of the dear children, 
who, quite unconscious in the cuddy cabin of the perils 
that surrounded them, continued to play as usual with 
their little toys in bed. To some of the older children, 
who seemed alive to the reality of the danger, I whis- 
pered, * Now is the time to put in practice the instruc- 
tions you have received at the regimental school and 
to think of the Saviour.' They replied, as the tears 
ran down their cheeks, ' Oh sir ! we are trying to 
remember them, and we are praying to God.' 

"It occurred to Mr. Thomson, the fourth mate, to 
send a man to the foretop, rather with the ardent wish 
than with the expectation, that some friendly sail might 
be discovered on the face of the waters. The sailor, on 
mounting, threw his eyes round the horizon for a 
moment — a moment of unutterable suspense — and, 
waving his hat, exclaimed, ' A sail on the leeboard ! ' 

"The joyful announcement was received with three 
cheers upon deck. Our flags of distress were instantly 
hoisted and our minute guns fired ; and we endeavoured 
to bear down under our three topsails and foresail upon 
the stranger, which afterwards proved to be the Cambria, 
a small brig of 200 tons burden, having on board 



THE LOSS OF THE "KENT" 493 

twenty or thirty Cornish miners and other agents of the 
Anglo-Mexican Company. 

"For ten or fifteen minutes we were left in doubt 
whether the brig perceived our signals, or, perceiving 
them, was either disposed or able to lend us any 
assistance. From the violence of the gale, it seems 
that the report of our guns was not heard ; but the 
ascending volumes of smoke from the ship sufficiently 
announced the dreadful nature of our distress, and we 
had the satisfaction, after a short period of suspense, 
to see the brig hoist British colours and crowd all sail 
to hasten to our relief. 

"I confess that when I reflected on the long period 
our ship had already been burning — on the tremendous 
sea that was running — on the extreme smallness of the 
brig, and the immense number of human beings to be 
saved — I could only venture to hope that a few might 
be spared ; but I durst not for a moment contemplate 
the possibility of my own preservation." 

To prevent the rush to the boats as they were being 
lowered, some of the military officers were stationed 
over them with drawn swords. Arrangements were 
made by Captain Cobb for placing in the first boat, 
previous to letting it down, all the ladies and as many 
of the soldiers' wives as it could safely contain. They 
hurriedly wrapped themselves up in whatever articles 
of clothing could be found, and at about 2 p.m. or 
2.30 p.m. a mournful procession advanced from the 
aft cabin to the starboard cuddy port, outside of which 
the cutter was suspended. Scarcely a word was uttered ; 
not a scream was heard. Even the infants ceased to 
cry, as if conscious of the unspoken, unspeakable 
anguish that was at that instant rending the hearts of 
their parting parents — nor was the silence of voices in 
any way broken, except in one or two cases, where the 



494 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

ladies plaintively entreated permission to be left behind 

with their husbands. 

Although Captain Cobb had used every precaution 
to diminish the danger of the boat's descent, and for 
this purpose had stationed a man with an axe to cut 
away the tackle from either extremity should the 
slightest difficulty occur in unhooking it, yet the peril 
attending the whole operation nearly proved fatal to 
its numerous inmates. After a couple of unsuccessful 
attempts to place the frail bark fairly on the heaving 
surface of the water, the command was given at length 
to unhook. The tackle at the stern was, in conse- 
quence, immediately cleared ; but the ropes at the bow 
having got fast, the sailor there found it impossible to 
obey the order. In vain was the axe applied to the 
entangled tackle. The moment was inconceivably 
critical, as the boat, which necessarily followed the 
motion of the ship, was gradually rising out of the 
water, and must, in another instant, have been hang- 
ing perpendicularly by the bow, and its helpless in- 
mates in that event would have been shot down into 
the boiling surf. But at that moment, providentially, 
a wave suddenly struck and lifted the stern, so as to 
enable the seaman to disentangle the tackle, and the 
boat, dexterously cleared from the wreck, was seen 
after a little while from the poop battling with the 
billows on its way to the Cambria, which prudently 
lay to at some distance from the Kent, lest she should 
be involved in her explosion, or exposed to the fire of 
her guns, which, being all shotted, afterwards went off 
as the flames reached them successively. 

The nien had, accordingly, a considerable distance 
to row. The better to balance the boat in the raging 
seas through which it had to make its way, as also to 
enable the seamen to ply their oars, the women and 



THE LOSS OF THE "KENT" 495 

children were stowed promiscuously under the seats, 
and consequently exposed to the risk of being drowned 
by the continual dashing of the spray over their heads, 
which so filled the boat during the passage, that before 
they arrived at the brig the poor creatures were crouch- 
ing up to their breasts in water, and their children 
kept above it with the greatest difficulty by their 
numbed hands. 

However, in the course of between twenty minutes 
and half an hour, the little cutter was seen alongside 
the brig. 

But the perils of the passage were not over ; the boat 
was heaved up against the side of the rolling and pitch- 
ing Cambria, and the difficulty of getting the women 
and children out of the cutter and on to the deck was 
great. Moreover, the boat stood in imminent danger of 
being stove in against the side of the brig whilst its 
passengers were disembarking. 

Here it was that the Cornish miners on board the 
Cambria notably distinguished themselves, and above 
all Joseph Warren from S. Just, a famous wrestler. 
Being a man of enormous strength, he stood on the 
chains and caught first the children as they were tossed 
to his arms, passed them up on deck, and then lifted 
the women bodily from the boat as it heaved up within 
his reach, and passed them over his head to the men 
above. 

The women showed great self-possession. They had 
been urged to avail themselves of every favourable 
heave of the sea, by springing towards the friendly 
arms that were extended to receive them ; and notwith- 
standing the deplorable consequence of making a false 
step, or misjudging a distance, under such critical 
circumstances, not a single accident occurred to any 
individual belonging to this first boat. 



496 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Three out of the six boats originally possessed by the 
Kent were swamped in the course of the day, one of 
them with men in it ; and the boats took three-quarters 
of an hour over each trip, so that night settled down, 
adding to the difficulties and dangers, and bringing 
ever nearer the prospect of the fire reaching the powder 
magazine and blowing all who remained on board into 
eternity. 

Sir Donald McGregor tells some pathetic stories of 
the rest of the crew and passengers. One woman had 
vainly entreated to be allowed to go to India with her 
husband, and when refused, had contrived to hide 
herself in the vessel as a stowaway till it was well out 
at sea. As he was endeavouring to reach one of the 
boats, he fell overboard, and his head, coming between 
the heaving boat and the side of the ship, was crushed 
like a nut in her sight. Sad instances occurred where a 
husband had to make election between the saving of his 
wife and that of his children. The courage of some 
utterly failed them. Nothing would induce them to enter 
or try to enter one of the boats leaping on the waves 
beside the burning ship. Rather than adventure that 
they would remain and take their chances on the wreck. 
Some, making false leaps into the boats, fell into the 
waves and were drowned. 

At last all who could or would be saved were brought 
on board the Cambria. 

' ' After the arrival of the last boat, the flames, which 
had spread along her upper deck and poop, ascended 
with the rapidity of lightning to the masts and rigging, 
forming one general conflagration that illumined the 
heavens, and was strongly reflected upon several objects 
on board the brig. 

" The flags of distress, hoisted in the morning, were 
seen for a considerable time waving amid the flames, 



THE LOSS OF THE "KENT" 497 

until the masts to which they were suspended succes- 
sively fell over the ship's sides. At last, about 1.30 in 
the morning, the devouring element having communi- 
cated to the magazine, the long-threatened explosion 
was seen, and the blazing fragments of the once 
magnificent Kent were instantly hurried, like so many 
rockets, high into the air, leaving in the comparative 
darkness that succeeded the dreadful scene of that 
disastrous day floating before the mind like some 
feverish dream. 

" I trust that you will keep in mind that Captain 
Cook's generous intentions and exertions must have 
proved utterly unavailing for the preservation of so 
many lives had they not been most nobly and unre- 
mittingly supported by those of his mate and crew, as 
well as of the numerous passengers on board his brig. 
While the former, only eight in number, were usefully 
employed in watching the vessel, the sturdy Cornish 
miners and Yorkshire smelters, on the approach of the 
different boats, took their perilous station upon the 
chains, where they put forth the great muscular strength 
with which Heaven had endowed them, in dexterously 
seizing, at each successive heave of the sea, on some of 
the exhausted people and dragging them upon deck. 
Nor did their kind anxieties terminate there. They 
and the gentlemen connected with them cheerfully 
opened their stores of clothes and provisions, which 
they liberally dispensed to the naked and famished 
sufferers ; and they surrendered their beds to the help- 
less women and children, and seemed, in short, during 
the whole passage to England, to take no other delight 
than in ministering to all our wants." 

Captain Cook of the Cambria at once turned the 
vessel and steered for Falmouth. 

On reaching Falmouth report of the distressed con- 

2 K 



498 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

dition of those who had been rescued was sent to 
Colonel Fenwick, Lieutenant-Governor of Pendennis 
Castle, and the people of Falmouth showed the utmost 
kindness and hospitality to those who had been saved. 
On the first Sunday after they had disembarked, 
Colonel Fearon, all the officers and men, Captain Cobb 
and the sailors and passengers attended church at Fal- 
mouth to give thanks to Almighty God for their deliver- 
ance from a fearful death. 

" Falmouth, March \6th, 1825. 
" To the Committee of the Inhabitants of Falmouth. 

"Gentlemen, 

" In tracing the various links in the ample chain 
of mercy and bounty with which it has pleased a gracious 
Providence to surround the numerous individuals lately 
rescued from the destruction of the Hon. Company's 
ship Kent, we, the Lieut.-Col. Commanding, and officers 
belonging to the right wing of the 31st Regiment, 
cannot but reflect with increasing gratitude on the 
beneficence of that arrangement whereby ourselves and 
our gallant men, after the awful and afflicting calamity 
that befell us, were cast upon the sympathies of the 
inhabitants of Falmouth and the adjacent towns, who 
have so widely opened their hearts to feel, and munifi- 
cently extended their hands to provide for our numer- 
ous and necessary wants. 

"We were thrown upon your shore as penniless 
strangers, and ye took us in ; we were hungry and 
ye gave us meat ; naked and ye clothed us ; sick and 
ye relieved and comforted us. We have found you 
rejoicing with those of us who rejoiced, and weeping 
with such of us as had cause to weep. You have 
visited our fatherless and widows in their affliction, and 



THE LOSS OF THE "KENT" 499 

sought by increasing acts of the most seasonable, effec- 
tive, and delicate charity, to alleviate the measure of 
our sufferings. 

" Under such circumstances, what can we say, or 
where shall we find words to express our emotions? 
You have created between us and our beloved country 
an additional bond of affection and gratitude, that will 
animate our future zeal, and enable us, amidst all the 
vicissitudes of our professional life, to point out Fal- 
mouth to our companions in arms as one of the 
bright spots in our happy land where the friendless 
shall find many friends, and the afflicted receive abun- 
dant consolation. 

" In the name and on behalf of the officers of the 
" Right Wing of the 31st Regiment, 

" R. B. Fearon, Lieut-Col., 31st Foot." 

Joseph Warren, the S. Just miner and wrestler who 
had so powerfully assisted in the rescue of the unfor- 
tunates from the Kent, strained his back in heaving up 
the women on deck, that ever after deprived him of 
power to wrestle or exercise his ancient strength. One 
of the ladies whom he had rescued paid him an annuity 
through the rest of his life, and he died at his old home 
at S. Just-in-Penwith, 28th January, 1842. 



VICE-ADMIRAL SIR CHARLES V. 
PENROSE 

THE Penrose family is one of the most 
ancient in Cornwall. The name signifies 
the Head of the Moor, and it belonged 
par excellence to the Land's End, where, 
at S. Sennen, we find the Penroses seated as landed 
gentry from the time of Edward I. They had branches 
in Sithney, Manaccan, and S. Anthony-in-Meneage. 
They mated with the best in the county — the Trefusis, 
the Killigrews, the Eriseys, and the Boscawens. One 
broke away from the circle of beautiful Celtic names, 
and took to wife a daughter of Sir Anthony Buggs, Knt. 
Happy must the lady have felt to cease to be Miss 
Buggs and become Madame Penrose ! 

Charles Vinicombe Penrose was the youngest son 
and child of the Rev. John Penrose, vicar of Gluvias, 
and was born at Gluvias, June 20th, 1759. In the 
spring of 1775 he was appointed midshipman on board 
the Levant frigate. Captain Murray, under whose 
command he passed the whole period of his service 
during the next twenty-two years of his life, and who 
(with one trifling exception) was the only captain with 
whom he ever sailed, either as midshipman or as 
lieutenant. In 1779 young Penrose was made lieu- 
tenant, and was appointed to the Cleopatra. 

All the summer and a part of the winter of 
1780 were passed in cruising off the Flemish bank. 
Captain Murray was then sent with a small squadron 

500 




I'ICE-ALllIIRAL SIR CHARI.I'.S Y . I'I'NROM-,. K C.K. 



VICE-ADMIRAL SIR CHARLES PENROSE 501 

to intercept the trade which the Americans were 
carrying on with Gothenburg by passing to the north 
of the Shetland Isles. The biting cold made this a 
source of extreme hardship, and the young lieutenant, 
now first lieutenant, suffered severely. The illness of 
the captain, and the incapacity of some of the officers, 
threw on him almost the whole care of the ship, and 
this under circumstances that required the skill and 
caution of the seaman to be ever on the alert. 

" I had, however," he wrote, "no time to nurse my- 
self, though I had pleurisy, besides my chilblains. 
For these latter I used to have warm vinegar and sal 
ammoniac brought frequently on deck, and, to allay 
the raging pain, dipped thin gloves into the mixture, 
and put them on under thick worsted mittens. At one 
time rheumatism had so got hold of me that I was not 
able to stand, but lay wrapped up in flannel on an arm- 
chest, on the forepart of the quarter-deck, to give my 
orders. 

'* On one occasion, in a severe gale, the ship covered 
with frozen snow, the main topmast was carried away ; 
we were the whole day clearing the wreck, and I was 
much fatigued but obliged to keep the first watch. We 
were lying to under bare poles, and I had sent all the 
men under shelter except one man at the helm and 
the mate of the watch ; and I had, with much difficulty, 
cleared a place for myself between two of the guns, 
where, holding by a rope, I could move two or three 
short paces backwards and forwards. About nine 
o'clock my messmates sent to ask if I would have any- 
thing, and I thoughtlessly ordered a glass of warm 
brandy and water, which they as thoughtlessly sent. I 
drank about half, and gave the rest to the mate. In a 
minute I felt a glow of warmth. Health, animation, 
freedom from fatigue, all came in their climax of com- 



502 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

fort. The next minute I fell sleeping on the deck. 
Fortunately for me, my comrade was an old seaman, and 
he instantly knew my case and dragged me down the 
ladder. I was put to bed ; was badly treated, as I 
was rubbed with spirits ; but after excruciating pain, 
I recovered. Had the officer of the watch been a 
young gentleman without experience, I should never 
have told my story." 

In 1781 the Cleopatra was in the action off the 
Dogger Bank, but in 1783 was paid off. "At this 
time," wrote Mr. Penrose, "after having been for 
eleven years conversant only with nautical affairs, I 
really felt a great puzzle to know how a shore life could 
be endured. I had entered into my profession with all 
my heart, and was at this time as nearly a fish as a fin- 
less animal can become." 

In 1787 he married Miss Trevenen, the elder sister of 
his brother's wife, and by her had three daughters. He 
was not at sea again till 1790, when he accompanied 
Captain Murray in the Defence, and was engaged in 
the West Indies. At the latter end of 1796 he was 
again returned to the Cleopatra, in which ship he had 
the melancholy satisfaction of conveying to England his 
friend and admiral, who had been seized with a para- 
lytic affection from which he never recovered. The 
voyage home was tempestuous ; but at length, and 
nearly at its close, the wind had come right aft, and the 
captain, who, though ill, was on deck, believed himself 
to be making rapid way up the Channel. On a sudden 
a light, which he knew to be the Scilly light, flashed 
across him, and he saw that he was between Scilly and 
the Land's End. He instantly stood to the south, but 
had hardly changed his course when he saw, close 
astern in the dark night, a wave break under the bow 
of a large ship, steering exactly in the direction which 



VICE-ADMIRAL SIR CHARLES PENROSE 503 

he had left, "I never felt so sick before," he wrote. 
" I felt certain that in an hour's time she would be on 
the rocks, the wind blowing almost a storm. I shouted 
through the trumpet, I threw up lights, and fired guns, 
to give the alarm, but with the inward conviction at 
the time that it was all in vain — and so it was. This 
ship was never heard of again ; and though fragments 
of a wreck were found the next morning on the coast 
near the Land's End, nothing was discovered to in- 
dicate what wreck it was." 

The Cleopatra, on her return to England, was laid 
up for some months at Portsmouth in dock, and shortly 
after her repairs were completed the mutiny broke out 
at Spithead. Captain Penrose had the satisfaction that 
his own crew, from the beginning to the end of this 
anxious period, stood firm to their duty ; a consequence 
undoubtedly of the manner in which he invariably 
treated his men, with kindly consideration and as 
reasonable beings. 

He now went ashore, as his health was broken, and 
in May, 1798, went to reside at Ethy, near Lostwithiel, 
where, so soon as his health was re-established, he 
settled his family and looked out for fresh employment. 
He was appointed early in 1799 to the Sans Pareil, of 
eighty guns, and served in the West Indies till 1802, 
when he returned to England, having suffered from 
sunstroke. In 1810 Captain Penrose was appointed to 
the chief command at Gibraltar, with the rank of com- 
modore. He hoisted his flag on board the San Juan, 
and had to direct the proceedings of a large flotilla 
which proved of great utility in the defence of Cadiz 
and Tarifa, and in other operations against the French 
under Marshal Soult. On December 4th, 1813, he was 
promoted to be Admiral of the Blue, and shortly after to 
superintend the naval service connected with Welling- 



504 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

ton's army, then advanced as far as the Pyrenees, 
His orders were to proceed to the small port of Pas- 
sages, and there hoist his flag on board the Porcupine. 
Admiral Penrose arrived at Passages on January 27th, 
1814. The chief business which now devolved on the 
naval service was to make the necessary preparations 
for throwing a floating bridge across the Adour. This 
bridge was to be composed of small coasting vessels, 
decked boats, cables and planks. Above the bridge 
were to be anchored for its protection as many gun- 
boats as could be furnished, and, to guard both these 
and the bridge from fire-ships or rafts, a boom was 
also to be laid across the river further up the stream. 
These measures were consequent on the investment of 
Bayonne. Great difficulties were to be expected in 
passing the bar of the Adour, which, at the place where 
the bridge was to be built, was four hundred yards 
wide, and where the ebb-tide ran at the rate of eight 
miles an hour. The Admiral determined to super- 
intend the operation in person. On the afternoon 
of the 22nd the Porcupine, conveying some transports 
and several large coasting vessels laden with materials, 
left the harbour. But squally weather and baffling 
winds came on during the night, and he was unable to 
bring the flotilla to the bar before the morning of 
the 24th. 

The passing of the bar, a most perilous service, has 
been described, as seen from the shore, by Mr. Gleig in 
the Subaltern, 

It was nearly high water, and the wind was fair ; 
both officers and soldiers gathered on the heights 
around, and the passage, of each vessel was eagerly 
watched, from the moment it was immersed in the 
foaming breakers until it issued forth in the placid 
waters of the river beyond. Some few vessels broached 



VICE-ADMIRAL SIR CHARLES PENROSE 505 

to and sank; but, on the whole, the attempt fully 
succeeded, and with fewer casualties than could have 
been expected. General Sir John Hope, who com- 
manded on shore, said, in a letter to the Admiral : 
" I have often seen how gallantly the navy will devote 
themselves when serving with an army, but I never 
before witnessed so bold and hazardous a co-operation, 
and you have my most grateful thanks. I wrote to 
you in the course of last night, to say how much we 
stood in need of boats, seamen, etc., but when I saw 
the flotilla approach the wall of heavy surf, I regretted 
all I had said." 

So soon as the boats had thus entered the river, no 
time was lost in running those which were intended to 
form the bridge up to their stations, where the bridge 
was rapidly formed ; and at dawn on the following day, 
it was declared that infantry might cross it with safety. 
On the 27th Bayonne was closely invested by Sir John 
Hope, and Marshal Soult completely routed at Orthez 
by Wellington. 

On March 22nd Admiral Penrose received in- 
structions from the Duke to occupy the Gironde. On 
the 24th he sailed in the Porcupine, taking with him 
some brigs and a bomb vessel, and he was joined at the 
mouth of the river by the Egmont, the Andromache, the 
Challenger, and the Belle Poule. On the 27th he 
entered the river, the Andromache taking the lead. 
The want of pilots and the haziness of the atmosphere 
rendered the navigation difficult. The course taken was 
within easy reach of the shot from the enemy's batteries, 
but these passed clear of the ships, and every consider- 
able danger was successfully overcome, when a clear 
sun broke forth to animate the progress up the stream. 

The abdication of Napoleon, 6th April, 18 14, and the 
restoration of the Bourbons followed, and Admiral 



5o6 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Penrose left the Gironde on May 22nd, and returned to 
Passages to superintend the embarkation of the troops 
and stores. The difficulties were great. The in- 
adequate supply of transports precluded the affording, 
even to the sick and wounded, the accommodation of 
which they were in need ; and the hatred borne by the 
Spanish population to the British troops burst forth 
more and more as their strength diminished. Although 
English blood and treasure had been poured forth to 
'assist Spain against the despotism of Napoleon and in 
driving the French out of the country, not a spark of 
gratitude was manifested by the Spaniards. It was 
thought on this occasion highly probable that some 
outrage would be attempted in the rear of the embark- 
ation. Indeed, a plan had been formed by some 
Spaniards to seize the military chest, and for security it 
had to be conveyed on board the Lyra, and a volley of 
stones was hurled at the last boat that left the shore. 
During Admiral Penrose's whole stay on this ungrateful 
coast, he never received a visit or the smallest mark of 
attention from a single Spaniard ; and on his leaving 
Passages, not one individual in the town was seen 
to look out of a window to watch the sailing of the 
fleet. 

The Porcupine anchored in Plymouth Sound, Sep- 
tember 6th, and the Admiral struck his flag on the 12th, 
with but little expectation, now that peace had revisited 
Europe, of being again actively employed. On the 
i6th, however, he received a letter from Lord Melville, 
offering him the command of the fleet in the Mediter- 
ranean, become vacant by the recall of Admiral 
Hallowell. The offer was accepted, and on October 
3rd Admiral Penrose hoisted his flag at Plymouth, on 
board the Queen, and left Plymouth on the 8th. 

Whilst in the Mediterranean, he heard on March 12th, 



VICE-ADMIRAL SIR CHARLES PENROSE 507 

1815, of the escape of Napoleon from Elba, and of his 
having reached Prejus. 

In January, i8i6. Admiral Penrose was promoted to 
the rank of Knight Commander of the Bath. 

On March ist he received letters from Lord Exmouth, 
who appointed a meeting at Port Mahon to proceed 
against Algiers and Tunis to put an end to the piracies 
that were carried on from these two places. The 
squadron sailed for Algiers March 21st. Admiral 
Penrose wrote : " On arriving at their destination, the 
ships anchored in two lines out of gun-shot from the 
batteries, and by signal made all ready for battle ; but 
all went off quietly, and the slaves in whose behalf the 
expedition was undertaken were ransomed on the terms 
which Lord Exmouth proposed." From Algiers the 
squadron sailed for Tunis, and here also the Bey sub- 
mitted to the demand made on him, and thus ended 
this impotent expedition. The Bey of Algiers was 
by no means so overawed that he desisted from his 
nefarious practices, and a second expedition was sent 
against him under Lord Exmouth in 1816. 

By an unfortunate oversight, rather than intentional 
lack of courtesy, no notice had been sent to the Admiral 
in command of the Mediterranean that Lord Exmouth 
had been despatched to bombard Algiers and destroy 
the piratical fleet. Admiral Penrose was at Malta, and 
hearing in a roundabout way that Lord Exmouth, 
with a fleet fitted out at home, had entered the Medi- 
terranean and was on his way to Algiers, he deemed it 
advisable to leave Malta and visit this fleet. He did 
not arrive off Algiers till the 29th August. The action 
had been on the 27th, and the first objects seen on 
entering the bay were the still smoking wrecks of the 
Algerine navy, and then the fleet of Lord Exmouth en- 
gaged in repairing the injuries which it had sustained. 



5o8 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

Admiral Penrose was cut to the quick by the slight 
put upon him, and he wrote to remonstrate with the 
Admiralty, but received in reply only a rebuke for 
expressing his indignation in a tone that the Admiralty 
did not relish. 

There is no need to attend Admiral Penrose in his 
cruises and visits to the Ionian Islands, but his diary 
may be quoted relative to an expedition made early in 
1818, in company with Sir Thomas Maitland, to visit 
Ali Pasha. 

The history of this second Nero, with whom to our 
disgrace we entered into alliance, and supplied with 
cannon and muskets, may be given in brief. 

Ali, surnamed Arslan, the Lion, was an Albanian 
born about the year 1)741. His father, driven from his 
paternal mansion, placed himself at the head of some 
bandits, surrounded the house in which were his 
brothers, and burnt them in it alive. The mother of 
Ali, daughter of a bey, was of a vindictive and ferocious 
character, and on the death of her husband had the 
formation of the character of Ali in her hands, and she 
inspired him with remorselessness, ambition, and sub- 
tlety. Ali assisted the Sultan in the war with Russia, 
and was rewarded by being created a pasha of two tails 
and governor of Tricala, in Thessaly. Soon by means 
of intrigue and crime he obtained the pashalics of 
Janina and Arta ; then he was granted the government 
of Acharnania, and, finding himself strong enough to 
do what he liked, he attacked neighbouring provinces, 
and banished or put to death in them all the Mussul- 
man and Christian inhabitants whose goods he coveted, 
or who had given him umbrage. Then he attacked the 
Christian Suliotes and massacred them. Previsa and 
some other Christian towns on the coast had belonged 
to the republic of Venice. In 1797 the Queen of the 



VICE-ADMIRAL SIR CHARLES PENROSE 509 

Adriatic, having been overthrown by Bonaparte, AH 
took the opportunity, at the feast of Easter, to descend 
on them when all the inhabitants were keeping holiday, 
and massacre over six thousand and plunder the houses. 
The English Government entered into negotiations 
with him, gave him a park of artillery and six hundred 
gunshots. Thus furnished he attacked Berat, the 
pasha of which was the father of his two sons' wives. 
He took the place and threw the pasha into a subter- 
ranean dungeon under his palace at Janina. 

He seized on the Albanian towns of Argyro-Kastro 
and Kardihi. The inhabitants of the latter surrendered 
without striking a blow ; but as they had at some 
former time offended his mother, he put all the males 
to the sword, and handed over the women to his sister, 
who, after having delivered them up to the most 
horrible outrages, had them stripped stark naked and 
driven into the forests, where nearly all perished of cold 
and hunger. When Napoleon fell, Ali got the English 
to cede to him the town of Parga. It was concerning 
this cession that the English Government thought it 
no shame to send Sir Thomas Maitland to Ali to 
negotiate with him at Previsa. '* The General 
embarked with the ladies (Lady Ponsonby, Lady 
Lauderdale and her daughters) in the Glasgow, and 
with the two ships we proceeded to the anchorage of 
Prevesa. On the evening of our arrival I despatched 
the second lieutenant to find at what time on the follow- 
ing day Ali would receive us. His report of the chief 
himself was wittily characteristic : ' He is exactly like a 
sugar hogshead, dressed in scarlet and gold.' 

" A long and heavy pull we had the next day in the 
Glasgow's fine barge against a very cold wind, but at 
last we reached the land. The palace of the ferocious 
chief whom we had come to visit was built of wood, and 



5IO CORNISH CHARACTERS 

on the water's edge, so that the boats landed at one of 
the doors, contrived, no doubt, to enable the owner to 
escape in that direction if requisite. It was an im- 
mense building, badly finished, not painted, and badly 
furnished, but calculated to lodge about three thousand 
persons. The chief, with all his heads of departments, 
and his son and grandson, received us in a small room, 
one end of which was occupied by a comfortable and 
well-cushioned divan. Here we were soon served with 
coffee in beautiful china and gold cups and saucers, and 
magnificent pipes. 

" Sir Thomas introduced me as the naval commander- 
in-chief. Before we returned to our ships an excellent 
collation was provided on a long table ; but the climate 
was severe in this wild mansion, and after trying many 
bottles of execrable light wines, great was my joy in 
finding a flask of excellent brandy. 

" I had several good opportunities of watching the 
countenance of the extraordinary man who was now 
our host, and I never could observe the smallest in- 
dication without of what was passing in his breast. 
Simple benevolence was apparently beaming from the 
whole expression of this human butcher. At one time 
particularly, when I know for a certainty that he was 
both angry and mortified at some turn in the investiga- 
tions, I sat opposite him at only a yard's distance, and 
could not perceive the smallest outward token of the 
storm within. He once questioned me about my 
family, whether I was married, etc. ; and when I told 
him I had three daughters, ' What, no sons ? Why 
have you not them?' and burst forth into one of his 
frightful haugh-haugh laughs, which were quite dis- 
gusting, and resembled the grunt of a wild beast. 

"As a high honour, on the day on which the ladies 
were with us, he sat at the head of the table at dinner. 



VICE-ADMIRAL SIR CHARLES PENROSE 511 

The dinner was much more profuse than elegant ; and 
one of Ali's first operations was to cut oflf the fore- 
quarter of a roasted lamb, and with his hand tear out 
the flesh between the shoulder and the breast, which 
he devoured with great glee. Lady Lauderdale sat on 
his right hand, and I was next her. Ali, understand- 
ing that she chose some turkey, had one brought before 
him, and helped her with a fore-quarter of an immense 
bird, which, of course, puzzled her greatly. Where- 
upon, bowing for permission from our host, I cut off a 
proper portion from the wing, and helped myself to the 
remainder. When Ali saw what a small portion I had 
allotted to the lady, he grunted out his peculiar laugh, 
but luckily did not persist in the cramming system. 

" Even at this more distinguished feast good wines 
were not the order of the day, and I had again recourse 
to the brandy bottle. I know not what Ali had in a 
particular bottle placed near himself, as he indulged no 
one but Sir Thomas Maitland with a taste of it, but I do 
not recollect hearing it praised. The chief took a good 
portion of this bottle to himself, heedless of the Koran 
and the prophet. 

" Immediately after dinner dancing boys were intro- 
duced, and performed a great number of evolutions, 
showing the most extraordinary flexibility in every part 
of the body. These poor creatures must have been 
Nazarites from their birth, as their hair was long 
enough to reach to the floor as they stood, and great 
part of their skill was displayed in throwing about 
these profuse locks with their arms. I think these boys 
must have been of Indian extraction. 

"The ladies having heard that Ali had bought a 
diamond of great value from poor Gustavus, the ex- 
King of Sweden, expressed a strong desire to see it. 
He assented graciously, and ordered a plate to be 



512 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

brought to him. He then searched in the folds of his 
own fat neck, and at last untied a string to which was 
affixed a little bag of either oil-cloth or bladder. Out of 
this he took a coarse paper parcel, and having opened 
the envelope, and three or four interior papers, he, with 
a pretended air of indifference, threw out on the plate 
a considerable number of diamonds, which some of 
our party valued at ;£'3o,ooo. Among these was the 
diamond of the ex-King, which had been valued at 
;£^i 2,000; but owing partly to his necessities, and, 
perhaps, partly also to a change in value, Ali pur- 
chased it, I think, for ;^7ooo or ;£'8ooo. 

"The strangest part of this story was that such 
a man could display such a treasure, showing that it 
was usually concealed about his person, before a con- 
siderable number of his own subjects as well as 
strangers. There seemed to be the freest possible 
ingress and egress to and from the hall in which we 
sat ; and beside his officers of state, there were many 
menials in the hall at the time. In what, then, con- 
sisted the confidence which he must have felt? It 
could not have been derived from conscious virtue, or 
security of attachment ; and, except at the gate which 
led from the great square of the palace towards the 
town, I never saw anything like guard or sentinel. 

"Besides the dish of diamonds, Ali kept by his side 
a brace of pistols richly set with valuable jeVels, a 
present from Napoleon ; and in his girdle he always 
wore a dagger, the hilt of which must have been worth 
;^20C)0 or ;^3000 ; one stone especially being very 
large. Probably the reign of terror might operate to 
some degree as a safeguard ; but the appearance of 
the people immediately about All's person indicated 
much more confidence than fear. 

"Our ladies had been introduced into the harem, 



VICE-ADMIRAL SIR CHARLES PENROSE 513 

•and to the favourite Fatima, who, as we were told, was 
the best scratcher Ali ever had. One of his chief 
luxuries was to have his immense, coarse carcase 
scratched for a considerable time daily by his female 
friends." 

The end of this man, Ali Pasha, may be briefly 
told. He had become independent, disregarding the 
authority of the Sultan, and a menace to the State. 
Accordingly an army was despatched to Janina, and 
a fleet to make a descent on the coasts of Epirus. Ali, 
in spite of his great age, exhibited great energy, and 
prepared to resist, but his fatal avarice stood in his 
way. With his enormous treasures he could have 
secured the fidelity of his troops, but he could not 
make up his mind to deal liberally with his defenders, 
and most deserted. His own sons and grandsons, with 
one exception, passed over into the enemy's camp. He 
set the town of Janina on fire, and retired himself into 
the fortress, which was defended by Italian and French 
artillerymen, and which bristled with cannon. This 
was in August, 1820. At the beginning of 1821 the 
Sultan gave the command of his forces to Khorchid 
Pasha, and the siege was begun. Ali had previously 
sunk one portion of his treasure in the lake in spots 
where it could be recovered by himself when the storm 
blew over ; the rest was in his cellar heaped up over 
barrels of gunpowder, and a faithful attendant stood 
ever by with a lighted fuse in his hand. Khorchid 
was particularly desirous of securing the treasure. 
He proposed an interview in an island of the lake. 
After some hesitation Ali, who had now but fifty men 
in his garrison, consented. The interview took place 
on the 5th February, 1822 ; Khorchid had taken the 
precaution to surround the island with soldiers, but 
concealed. When they met, the officer of the Sultan 

3 L 



514 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

produced a firman granting complete forgiveness to 
Ali for all his crimes and defiance, on condition that 
he surrendered some of his treasures. Ali then drew 
off his ring, handed it to the general, and said, "Show 
that to my slave, and he will extinguish the fuse." 

Ali was detained in the palace on the isle till 
messengers had been sent to the fortress, and the 
slave, obedient to the token, had put out the light, 
whereupon he was at once stabbed. When Khorchid 
knew that the treasure was secure, he summoned the 
soldiery, and they fired into the kiosk from all sides 
and through the floor, till Ali was struck mortally. 

The moral infamies of this man are not to be de- 
scribed. 

When the negotiations with Ali Pasha were ended, 
the Lord High Commissioner and the ladies returned 
to Corfu, and Sir Charles Penrose went back to his 
fleet. 

He returned to England in 1819, being succeeded in 
his command by Admiral Freemantle. 

He again made Ethy his home, taking occasional 
flights to London to obtain some other naval appoint- 
ment, which would not compel a severance from his 
family, but none was available, and, finally, as his 
wife's health and his own began to fail, he was content 
to remain in his quiet Cornish home. There he died 
January ist, 1830, at the age of seventy ; and Lady 
Penrose died in 1832. 

The Life of Vice-Admiral Sir C. V. Penrose, k.c.b,, 
together with that of Captain James Trevenen, was 
written by their nephew, the Rev. John Penrose, and 
published by John Murray, 1850, with portrait. 



SIR CHRISTOPHER HAWKINS, BART. 

KIT HAWKINS, as he was familiarly termed 
in Cornwall, played a considerable part at 
the close of the eighteenth century, and 
before the passing of the Reform Bill, as 
a borough-monger. There was a contemporary with a 
similar reputation, Manasseh Lopes, a Jew diamond 
merchant from Jamaica, and both purchased their 
baronetcies by subservience to the Government in find- 
ing places for their nominees in the pocket boroughs 
they had got into their hands. When Manasseh Lopes 
drove into Fowey with his candidates, the town band 
stalked before the carriage playing "The Rogues' 
March " ; when Kit Hawkins arrived in Grampound or 
S. Ives with a carriage and four, and his candidates 
with him, the band played " See the Conquering Hero 
Comes " — but he conquered not with weapons of steel, 
but with golden guineas, handed over to him by the 
candidates, a share of which passed to the electors. 

The Cornish Hawkins family pretended to derive 
from a very distinguished Roman Catholic stock in 
Kent, whose place, Nash, was plundered in 1715 by the 
rabble, on account of the Jacobite proclivities of the 
Hawkins family and the excitement caused by the re- 
bellion in Scotland of the Earl of Mar. On this 
occasion all the family plate, portraits, and deeds were 
carried off ; some were burnt, some were recovered. 

But not a shadow of evidence is forthcoming to show 
that there was any descent of the Hawkins family 

515 



5i6 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

in Cornwall from that in Kent. The story given out 
was that on account of the religious persecution in 
the time of Queen Mary, two of the Kent Hawkinses 
left the paternal nest : one settled in Somersetshire 
and the other in Cornwall, where each became the 
founder of a family. It was forgotten, when this fiction 
was given to the world, that the Hawkins stock in Kent 
was Roman Catholic, and not at all likely to be troubled 
by Queen Mary. 

The first Cornish Hawkins of whom anything is 
known is Thomas of Mevagissey, who married a 
certain Audrey, her surname unknown, by whom he 
had two sons, John and Thomas, and three daughters. 

John Hawkins, of S. Erth, the eldest, married Love- 
day, daughter of George Tremhayle, by whom — who 
was living in 1676 — he had four surviving sons and 
three daughters, viz. Thomas ; George, Vicar of Sith- 
ney ; Reginald, d.d.. Master of Pembroke College, 
Cambridge ; and Francis. Thomas, the eldest, of Tre- 
winnard in S. Erth, married Florence, daughter of 
James Praed, of Trevethow, near Hayle, by whom he 
had a daughter, Florence, the wife of John Williams, 
merchant, of Helston ; and as his second wife he had 
Anne, daughter of Christopher Bellot, of Bodmin, by 
whom he had six daughters and four sons, of which 
latter, John, Thomas, and Renatus died young, and 
only Christopher lived. Thomas Hawkins, the father, 
diedi in 1716. 

Christopher Hawkins, of Trewinnard, only surviving 
son, married Mary, daughter of Philip Hawkins, of 
Penzance, a supposed descendant of the Hawkinses 
of Devonshire, by whom he had a daughter, Jane, 
married to Sir Richard Vyvyan, of Trelowaren, Bart., 
and a son, Thomas Hawkins, of Trewithen, M.P. for 
Grampound, who married Anne, daughter of James 



SIR CHRISTOPHER HAWKINS, BART. 517 

Heywood, of London, by whom he had four sons — 
Philip, whod.s.p. ; Christopher; Thomas, whod.s.p.; 
John, of Bignor, Sussex, who married the daughter of 
Humphrey Sibthorpe, M.P. for Lincoln — and a daugh- 
ter, who married Charles Trelawny, son of General 
Trelawny. Thomas Hawkins died on December ist, 
1770, and was succeeded by his second son, Christopher 
Hawkins, of Trewithen and Trewinnard, born at Tre- 
withen May, 1758.1 The seat Trewithen in Probus 
descended to his father from his grandmother's brother, 
Philip Hawkins, M.P. for the pocket borough of 
Grampound. 

Christopher Hawkins came in for a good deal of 
land, derived through the marriage of the ancestors of 
Philip Hawkins, of Trewithen, with the heiresses of 
Scobell and Tredenham and that of his own great- 
grandfather to the co-heiress of Bellot of Bochym. 

Christopher never married, and was of a frugal 
mind, buying land in all directions, and securing the 
pocket boroughs, where possible, as excellent invest- 
ments. It was said of Trewithen — 

A large park without deer, 

A large cellar without beer, 

A large house without cheer, 

Sir Christopher Hawkins lives here. 

But this was not fair, for there was certainly hospi- 
tality shown at Trewithen. Polwhele says: "Not a 
week before his death, I passed a delightful day with 
the hospitable baronet. To draw around him the few 
literary characters of his neighbourhood was his 
peculiar pleasure ; and at Trewithen the clergy in 
particular had always a hearty welcome." 

He purchased the manor of S. Ives in or about 1807, 
the fair at Mitchell, in Enoder, commanding the elec- 

' Baptized at Probus 29th May, 1758. 



5i8 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

tion to that borough, and the four fairs at Grampound 
giving him control there also over elections. 

A good many of the Cornish boroughs had been so 
constituted in the reign of Edward VI by the Protector 
Somerset, that he might get his own creatures into 
Parliament, Such were Camelford, Mitchell, Newport, 
Saltash, West Looe, Bossiney, Grampound, and Penryn. 
Queen Mary raised S. Ives into a borough in 1550, and 
Elizabeth created six more to serve her own political 
purposes, S. Germans, S. Mawes, Tregony, East Looe, 
Fowey, and Callington. 

Mitchell is a mere hamlet, and in 1660 the franchise 
was solemnly transferred from the inhabitants at large 
to nominees of the lord of the manor. In 1689 it was 
determined that the right of election lay in the lords of 
the borough, who were liable to be chosen portreeve 
thereof, and the householders of the same not receiving 
alms. But the borough in the latter years of its exist- 
ence became a battleground of many combatants, and 
as the right of voting was, until 1701, left in great 
ambiguity by successive election committees, the result 
of the contest could never be predicted. In 1701, the 
right of election for this distracted borough was again 
changed. This time it was vested in the portreeve and 
lord of the manor and the inhabitants paying scot 
and lot. In 1784, Hawkins and Howell were elected 
members, and sat in Parliament for Mitchell for twelve 
years, till 1796, and Sir Christopher became by pur- 
chase the sole owner of the borough ; and after Howell 
had ceased to represent Mitchell, he continued as its 
representative to 1806, when he surrendered his seat to 
Arthur Wellesley, subsequently Duke of Wellington. 
The electors by this time had been reduced to five. In 
the eleven years, 1807-18, there were nine elections at 
Mitchell, not owing to feuds, but retirement of members. 



SIR CHRISTOPHER HAWKINS, BART. 519 

No event of importance occurred after 18 18 to 1832, 
except the extraordinary and significant revelation that 
at the contested election of 1831, when Hawkins (Sir 
Christopher's nephew) got two votes, Kenyon five, and 
Best three. Five voters to return two members. In 
1833 those five electors found their borough dis- 
franchised, a fate it richly deserved. 

Penryn had been raised into the position of a borough 
returning two members of Parliament, in 1553. 

Mr. Courtney says of 1774: "About this period the 
borough of Penryn began to be notorious through the 
county for the readiness of its voters to barter their 
rights for pecuniary considerations. The franchise was 
on such an extended basis that almost every house- 
holder, though many of these were labourers, indigent 
and ignorant, was an elector." In 1807 there were, how- 
ever, but 140 ; in 1819 they had risen to 328. Each 
got a " breakfast" and ;^24 for his vote. 

In 1780, Sir Francis Bassett gave a feast to the whole 
borough ; he continued his patronage till 1807, as Lord 
de Dunstanville. In 1802 Swann and Milford contested 
a vacant seat in the borough, and Dunstanville to 
secure the second seat had to resort to putting faggot- 
voters on the poor-rates, the night before the election. 
Petition being made against the election, it ended in 
a compromise, and Swann received ;^io,ooo besides 
expenses. Lord de Dunstanville, disgusted at the 
expense and the weakening of his influence, abandoned 
the borough. Swann therepon gave a " breakfast " to 
his supporters ; a " breakfast" was synonymous with a 
bribe of ;^24. Penryn was concerned at the retirement 
of its lordly patron, and founded a club in 1805 for 
electors, such as would most conduce to the pecuniary 
welfare of the voters. When the election of 1806 was 
imminent and the former patron had withdrawn, a 



520 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

deputation of the members was sent to Trewithen to 
that notorious election-monger, Sir Kit, to tender to 
him the goodwill of the constituency. " The details of 
the negotiations conducted at this interview," says Mr. 
Courtney, " became the subject of subsequent investiga- 
tion ; but it was admitted that the voters stopped there 
for four hours and dined at the baronet's table, which 
on this occasion, no doubt, was more freely supplied than 
according to local gossip was the custom on ordinary 
days. The deputation informed Sir Christopher that 
Mr. Swann — the Black Swan as he was called by his 
enemies — who had been nursing the borough since 
1802, must obtain one of the seats, but that the other 
was at his disposal. These two worthy politicians, 
Hawkins and Swarin, thereupon coalesced, drink and 
food were freely supplied ; two voters, one for each 
candidate, went round and gave each elector a one- 
pound note to drink their health with, and the result 
was that on the ist November, 1806, the poll showed a 
large majority for Swann and Hawkins over Mr. 
Trevanion and his colleague William Wingfield." A 
petition followed, and the evidence was of such a com- 
promising character that Mr. Serjeant Lens abandoned 
the case on behalf of Hawkins. The evidence produced 
was that the deputation of voters, headed by a clergy- 
man, which had gone to Trewithen to offer him the 
borough, had associated with Sir Kit to sell their votes 
and interest for twenty-four guineas apiece paid to 
themselves, and for ten guineas to be handed to each of 
the overseers, and that the offer was duly accepted. 
An address to the King for the prosecution of Sir 
Christopher Hawkins and eighteen members of the 
committee was carried to the House of Commons. The 
trial took place at Bodmin on the igth August, 1808, 
when Cobbett attended in person to watch the trial and 



SIR CHRISTOPHER HAWKINS, BART. 521 

report proceedings in his Political Register. The 
questions in dispute centred on the terms of the agree- 
ment ; the chief witness swore that the documents 
signed by Hawkins stipulated that twenty-four guineas 
should be given to each of the leaders of the party, ten 
guineas apiece to the two overseers and twenty shillings 
to each of the voters. ^ But this evidence was un- 
supported, no other of the committee could be induced 
or intimidated into admitting that this had been the 
agreement ; no one in Penryn desired to kill the goose 
that laid the golden eggs, and the defendant was ac- 
quitted, "to dabble in borough-mongering for the rest 
of his life." 

At the election of 1807, Sir Christopher had no place 
in Parliament, but Swann sat again for Penryn. 

In 181 2 Hawkins wooed the borough in vain, in 
opposition to Philip Gell. The Black Swan was the 
other member elected, but great indignation was 
roused against him when it was found that he had left 
his bills unpaid for treating and breakfasting his 
adherents. 

Then a committee approached Sir Manasseh Lopes, 
but he declined to buy the votes at the price of £1000. 

But Swann managed to recover favour and increase 
the number of voters in his constituency by 200 votes, 
and to form a company to provide granite from the 
vicinity for Waterloo Bridge over the Thames, so pro- 
viding work for the voters of Penryn, and Hawkins 
and Swann were returned. The usual petition fol- 
lowed, and evidence of bribery came out. One voter 
swore that he had received £'>„ and his wife another 
£^ ; another £*] ; and many others various sums from 
ten shillings to ten pounds. Swann was declared 
guilty and imprisoned 1819-20. 

In the election of 1827 it was admitted that ^1850 



522 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

had been distributed among the electors. Seventy 
votes had been sold at ;^io apiece. 

Grampound had had its elections controlled by Lord 
Eliot. In the election of 1796 the fifty electors re- 
ceived for their votes ;£'3000, and the patron, Eliot, 
pocketed ^6000 himself. The patronage was then 
sold to Sir Kit Hawkins, to whom a friend wrote in 
1796: "Fame speaks loudly of your doings. The 
borough, by her own account, is all your own, and 
such is certainly preferable to Tregony, The small 
number of voters in one, and the vast number in the 
other, pulls down the balance in favour of Grampound, 
and from the continuance of Eliot we may infer that a 
possession once obtained may last forty or fifty years." 

But after the election of 1806 the recognized, nay 
undisputed patron, Sir Christopher, keeping voters in 
his pay, and holding the nomination to two seats, 
found that his power was weakened. His candidate, 
the Nabob Fawcett, did not pay as he had promised. 
The electors accordingly determined to transfer their 
favours to some other great man, and eventually 
elected Andrew C. Johnstone, Governor of Dominica, 
by twenty-seven over the Hawkins candidate, who 
polled only thirteen. 

" Up to this time," says the historian, "a decent veil 
of reserve had been thrown over the delinquencies of 
the Grampound electors ; now it was cast aside, and 
their deformities were disclosed to the view of the 
whole political world. Enquiry followed enquiry, and 
prosecution prosecution." The borough engaged the 
attention of members of Parliament and Press corre- 
spondents. Great Cobbett went to Bodmin in 1808 to 
see the trial of Sir Kit, the Mayor, Recorder, and four 
capital Burgesses. This petition unseated the anti- 
Hawkins candidate, and a new writ was issued. It 



SIR CHRISTOPHER HAWKINS, BART. 523 

was now arranged that Cochrane, patron of the anti- 
Kittite, should give ;£'5ooo for one, or ;6^8400 for the 
two seats, to be distributed, and that each of the 
elected should pay £\2 los. to the wives of the several 
electors. Each voter eventually did get about ;^8o. 
The anti-Kittites polled twenty-seven, and Mr. Hawkins' 
nominee fourteen. What does the Mayor do ? Strike 
off sufficient votes from the anti-Kittite, so as to give 
the local baronet a majority of one, and returned his 
nominees as duly elected. A second petition restored 
Cochrane. 

Sir Kit, discerning that his influence over the electors 
at Grampound was passing away, determined to increase 
the number of voters. The electors had consisted of an 
indefinite number of freemen elected at Easter and 
Michaelmas by the eligers. This election was artfully 
deferred till good Kittites could be secured to fill the 
places desired. 

In 1812 Cochrane was still in possession, but he made 
way for Johnston, associating Teed with him. This 
man gave each elector £\oq in promissory notes. John- 
ston was, however, expelled the House in 1814 for 
frauds on the Stock Exchange. Thereupon in came 
Sir Christopher Hawkins again. He was again brought 
before the notice of the House in 1818, when there 
appeared six candidates. Innes and Robertson were 
elected by thirty-six votes : the rest (eleven) went to 
Teed. After that, on Teed's petition, the whole secret 
of the nefarious system came to light. The voters, it 
appeared, had applied to Sir Kit ; but that worthy 
baronet was tired of their solicitations, and refused to 
advance a penny. So they turned to the Jew Manasseh 
Lopes, who gave ;^20oo to be distributed among forty 
electors. But when the money arrived, the Mayor inter- 
cepted ;£'300 for himself, another took ;£^i40, so that the 



524 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

rank and file got only £^5 apiece instead of the 
expected £^o ; ;f 8000 was paid privily by a sitting 
member. Again a petition, and Manasseh Lopes was 
convicted of bribery in both Devon and Cornwall, was 
fined ;£'io,ooo, and incarcerated at Exeter for two 
years. 

Lord John Russell was prepared to extirpate bribery, 
and in particular to disfranchise Grampound ; the 
House of Commons agreed without a dissentient voice, 
but the death of George HI hindered proceedings, and 
the last two members were returned. 

S. Ives had been erected into a borough by Philip 
and Mary in 1558. Here, after 1689, the Praeds, 
Whigs, were all-powerful. In 1751, after long being 
stewards of the Earls of Buckinghamshire, the Stephens 
family began to assert itself. Thenceforth during the 
long reign of George III a severe contest for influence 
over the elections was waged between the two families. 
In 1774 a Praed got ninety-five votes, a Drummond 
ninety-eight, and Stephens was left out in the cold with 
seventy-one. But the usual petition showed Praed's 
corruption too manifestly. Money had been lent to 
the voters, with the tacit understanding that in the 
event of election it was not to be asked for, and forty 
persons, sure voters for Stephens, had been omitted 
from the rates. In 1806 Sir Kit Hawkins, gained a 
share in representation ; his candidate, Horner. But 
Stephens got 135 votes and Horner 128; the other 
candidate opposing him was left far in the rear, with 
only five votes. But Horner was out again at the next 
election. In 1820 Sir Christopher had the appoint- 
ment to both seats entirely in his own hands. 

Tregony had been made into a borough under Queen 
Elizabeth in 1562. Before 1832 it was described as 
" destitute of trade, wealth, and common activity." 



SIR CHRISTOPHER HAWKINS, BART. 525 

Writing in 1877, the last Cornish historian remarks 
that the condition of Tregony had passed from bad to 
worse. Many of its houses were then in ruins, and the 
scene of desolation was spreading. In early times 
Tregony had been a seaport on a tidal creek, but that 
was silted up, and no boat could now reach it, so that 
its commercial importance was wholly gone. 

During the eighteenth century the representatives of 
Tregony were men of little importance, small place- 
men unconnected with Cornwall. In the long array of 
aliens and Court satellites, the name of one Cornish 
gentleman stands out in bright relief; 1747-67, for 
twenty years (a long period) Mr. Trevanion repre- 
sented it. The election of 1774 excited much notice. 
Lord North advised a note to be written to Lord 
Falmouth: "His Lordship must be told in as polite 
terms as possible, that I hope he will permit me to 
recommend to three of his six seats in Cornwall. The 
terms he expects are ;^2000 a seat, to which I am ready 
to agree." Later on, he says that his candidate 
Pownall must get in for Lostwithiel, and Conway 
represent Tregony, and he added : " My noble friend 
(Falmouth) is rather shabby, desiring guineas instead 
of pounds," but signified his will to pay rather than 
drop the bargain. Again : " Gascoyne shall have the 
refusal of Tregony for ;^iooo," and the Minister com- 
plained that he saw no way of bringing him in at a 
cheaper rate than any other servant of the Crown. 

In 1776 the Boscawen influence was sold to Sir 
Kit Hawkins, but he did not retain it for long, 
for he disposed of it to a Nabob, Barwell, and the 
two continued on friendly terms. When the living of 
Cuby fell vacant — Cuby is the parish church of 
Tregony — Sir Kit asked Barwell, who now had the 
presentation, to give it to a friend of his, alleging that 



526 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

"he had great interest" and assuring Harwell that his 
clerical friend would reside in the place, and by his 
great activity in the borough prevent, if possible, any 
opposition arising to Mr. Barwell. But at the very 
next election Sir Kit ran and returned two members 
against Barwell. 

In the contest of 1784, Lord Kenyon, a lawyer, 
obtained the seat by purchase, polling 90, while his 
two opponents got 69 each. 

In 1806 an O'Callinghan and a Yorkshire Whig, 
through Darlington's interest polled against Barwell's 
interest 102 against 86. At this election the following 
trick was played. A Tregony tailor and publican, 
called Middlecoat, offered to seat Sir Jonathan Miles for 
4000 guineas. At the poll the returning officer, who 
was biased or had been tampered with, struck off 
many good votes from Miles, and gave bad ones to 
others. Sir Jonathan petitioned and, for the expenses 
of the petition, sent Middlecoat a large sum of money, 
and he prevented the witnesses from appearing, and the 
sitting members were accordingly pronounced to be 
duly elected. Middlecoat had secured ;^25oo from 
the sitting nominees (Barwellians) to keep back the 
witnesses, as well as ;£'4200 from Sir Jonathan to bring 
them forward. 

In 181 2 O'Callinghan was unseated, and petitioned, 
showing that ;^5ooo had been distributed among the 
voters ; nevertheless the sitting members were received. 
Holmes, one of them, said — to show what was the 
degraded condition of the borough — that out of 127 
votes in his favour, 98 had been evicted into the street 
the day after the election, some having been called on 
to pay their rents, but were unable to do so at the 
moment, and others, whose annual rents were only ;^8, 
had been mulcted in costs to the extent of ;£^98. 



SIR CHRISTOPHER HAWKINS, BART. 527 

Middlecoat, and four others of like spirit, went to 
London in 1818 to search for candidates for Tregony 
and Grampound, offering the former for ;^6ooo and 
the latter for ;^7ooo. A banker and a general came 
down before the election, but found that the voters 
would make no promise unless the money were paid 
down. So they had to return to London " proclaiming 
their disappointment at every turn, and cursing the 
scoundrels who would not trust them." 

Christopher Hawkins was returned for Mitchell in 
1784, re-elected in 1790 and 1796. In June, 1799, he 
vacated his seat by accepting the Stewardship of the 
Chiltern Hundreds. In August, 1800, he was elected 
for Grampound, again in 1802 and 1806. In 1818 he 
was returned for Penryn, and in June, 1821, for S. Ives. 
He was created baronet on July 28th, 1791. He 
was Recorder of Grampound and S. Ives and, at the 
time when he relinquished his seat finally, he was the 
father of the House of Commons. 

Sir Christopher encouraged the famous engineer and 
inventor Richard Trevithick, and in the life of that 
worthy, by Francis Trevithick, are given some letters 
that passed between them ; but Mr. F. Trevithick per- 
sistently calls Sir Christopher Sir Charles. Sir Kit 
was the first man to adopt a steam thrashing-machine 
in 1812, an invention of Trevithick; it was used for 
the first time at Trewithen in February in that year. 
A committee of experts was called in to witness its 
operations and report on them, and this is their report, 
dated February 12th, 1812: — 

"Having been requested to witness and report on 
the effect of steam applied to work a mill for thrashing 
corn at Trewithen, we hereby testify that a fire was 
lighted under the boiler of the engine five minutes after 
eight o'clock, and at twenty-five minutes after nine 



528 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

o'clock the thrashing mill began to work, in which time 
one bushel of coal was consumed. That from the time 
the mill began to work to two minutes after two 
o'clock, being four hours and three-quarters, fifteen 
hundred sheaves of barley were thrashed clean, and one 
bushel of coal more was consumed. We think there 
was sufficient steam remaining in the boiler to have 
thrashed from fifty to one hundred sheaves more barley, 
and the water in the boiler was by no means exhausted. 
We had the satisfaction to observe that common 
labourers regulated the thrashing mill, and in a 
moment of time made it go faster, slower, or entirely 
cease working. We approve of the steadiness and 
the velocity with which the machine worked, and in 
every respect we prefer the power of steam, as here 
applied, to that of horse. 

Matthew Roberts, Lansellyn. 

Thos. Nankevill, Golden. 

Matthew Doble, Barthlever." 

Sir Christopher entered into negotiation with Tre- 
vithick about constructing a breakwater to the harbour 
at S. Ives, at Pendinas Point. It was begun, but 
never completed, owing to the death of the baronet. 
But a good thing he did achieve, though done for a 
political purpose, by indirect bribery, was the estab- 
lishment of a free school at S. Ives, in Shute Street ; 
the charge of admission was one penny per week, and 
in it navigation was taught. It was opened on April 
nth, 1822. 

In the diary of Captain John Tregerthen Short of the 
events taking place at S. Ives between 1817 and 1838 we 
have: "1828, June loth. At 10 a.m. Sir Christopher 
Hawkins, Bart, and Wellesley Long Pole, Esq., the 
former supporting the cause of the Right Hon. Sir 



SIR CHRISTOPHER HAWKINS, BART. 529 

Charles Arbuthnot, attended at the Town Hall, where 
Wellesley Long Pole, Esq., resigned the contest, and 
Sir Charles Arbuthnot was elected without opposition. 
Immediately afterwards Mr. Wellesley Pole made an 
active and successful canvass of the town for another 
election, and left S. Ives at 10 p.m., having given each 
voter 5s., and Sir Christopher Hawkins gave all his 
friends 5s." 

"July 2ist. — All Mr. Wellesley's voters had a public 
dinner ; each received one guinea to defray the expense 
of the dinner, which came to 7s. 3d. per man." Oh, 
what a falling off is here ! Only 5s. each voter, whereas 
elsewhere, at Grampound, Tregony, Penryn, and 
Mitchell, a free and independent elector would turn up 
his nose at ;^io. But Captain Short does not inform us 
what the douceurs had been that were paid previous to 
the election. 

Sir Christopher Hawkins died of erysipelas at Tre- 
withen on April 6th, 1829. 

Captain Short enters on that day : — 

"Sir Christopher Hawkins, Bart., departed this 
life this morning in the seventy-first year of his 
age. His death will be greatly felt and deplored 
by hundreds. His charitable contributions amongst 
the indigent will be found greatly wanting. A 
more generous and benevolent landlord could not 
be found. He was never known to distrain for 
rent. He established a Free School in S. Ives for 
the education of the poor, and gave the sum of .^100 
towards enlarging the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel 
in this town." 

The Gentleman's Magazine for 1830 says that Sir Kit 
Hawkins's property at S. Ives was sold then, "which 
secures the purchaser a seat in Parliament, for the 
borough was lately sold by auction in London for 

2 M 



530 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

the sum of ;^55,ooo. It is reported that the pur- 
chaser is the Marquess of Cleveland." 

A bad bargain, for three years after the Reform 
Bill was passed, and S. Ives ceased to be a pocket 
borough. 



ANNE JEFFERIES 

MOSES PITT, a publisher in London, a 
native of S. Teath, in 1696 published 
the following letter to the Bishop of 
Gloucester. There are two editions of 
it, with slight and insignificant variations both in 
the preliminary address and in the account of Anne 
Jefferies. 

The preamble we omit. 

"Anne Jefferies (for that was her maiden name), 
of whom the following strange things are related, 
was born in the parish of S. Teath, in the county of 
Cornwall, in December, 1626, and she is still living 
in 1696, being in the seventieth year of her age. She 
is married to one William Warren, formerly hind to 
the late eminent physician Dr. Richard Lewes, 
deceased, and now lives as a hind to Sir Andrew 
Slanning, of Devon, Bart. 

"In the year 1691 I wrote into Cornwall to my 
sister Mary Martyn's son, attorney, to go to the said 
Anne and discourse her, as from me, about the most 
strange passages of her life. He answers my letter 
September 13th, 1691, and saith : ' I have been with 
Anne Jefferies, and she can give me no particular 
account of her condition, it being so long since. My 
grandmother and mother say that she was in Bodmin 
jail three months, and lived six months without meat ; 
and during her continuance in that condition several 
eminent cures were performed by her ; the particulars 

531 



532 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

no one can now state. My mother saw the fairies once, 
and heard one say that they should give some meat to 
the child, that she might return unto her parents, 
which is the fullest relation can now be given.' But 
I, not being satisfied with the answer, did in the 
year 1693 write into Cornwall and my sister's husband, 
Mr, Humphry Martyn, and desired him to go to Anne 
Jefferies to see if he could persuade her to give me 
what account she could remember of the many and 
strange passages of her life. He answered by letter, 
January 31st, 1693, and saith : 'As for Anne Jefferies, 
I have been with her the greatest part of one day, and 
did read to her all that you wrote to me ; but she would 
not own anything of it as concerning the fairies, neither 
of the cures she then did. I endeavoured to persuade 
her she might receive some benefit by it. She answered 
that if her own father were now alive she would not 
discover to him those things which did happen to her. 
I asked her the reason why she would not do it ; she 
replied that if she should discover it to you, that you 
would make either books or ballads of it ; and she said 
that she would not have her name spread about the 
country in books or ballads, or such things, if she 
might have ;^5oo for doing it ; for she said she had 
been questioned before justices, and at the sessions, 
and in prison, and also before the judges at the assizes, 
and she doth believe that if she should discover such 
things now she would be questioned again for it. As 
for the ancient inhabitants of S. Teath Church-town, 
there are none of them now alive but Thomas 
Christopher, a blind man. (Note : This Thomas 
Christopher was then a servant in my father's house, 
when these things happened, and he remembers many 
of the passages you write of her.) And as for my wife, 
she then being so little did not mind it, but heard her 



ANNE JEFFERIES 533 

father and mother relate most of the passages you 
wrote of her.' 

' ' This is all I can, at present, possibly get from her, 
and therefore I now go on with my relation of the 
wonderful cures and other strange things she did, 
or happened to her, which is the substance of what 
I wrote to my brother and that he read to her. 

"It is the custom in our county of Cornwall for 
the most substantial people of each parish to take 
apprentices the poor children, and to breed them up 
till they attain to twenty-one years of age, and for their 
services to give them meat, drink, and clothes. This 
Anne Jefferies, being a poor man's child of the parish, 
by Providence fell into our family, where she lived 
many years. Being a girl of a bold, daring spirit, she 
would venture at those difficulties and dangers that no 
boy would attempt. 

" In the year 1645 (she being nineteen years old), she 
being one day knitting in an arbour in our garden, 
there came over the hedge to her, as she affirmed, six 
persons of small stature, all clothed in green, which 
she called fairies. Upon which she was so frightened 
that she fell into a kind of convulsive fit. But when we 
found her in this condition, we brought her into the 
house and put her to bed, and took great care of her. 
As soon as she recovered out of her fit she cried out, 
' They are just gone out of the window ! Do you not 
see them ? ' And thus in the height of her sickness she 
would often cry out, and that with eagerness, which 
expressions were attributed to her distemper, supposing 
her light-headed. During the extremity of her sick- 
ness my father's mother died, which was in April, 
1646 ; he durst not acquaint our maid Anne of it for 
fear it might have increased her distemper, she being 
at that time so very sick that she could not go, nor 



534 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

so much as stand on her feet ; and also the extrem- 
ity of her sickness, and the long continuance of her dis- 
temper had almost perfectly moped her, so that she 
became even as a changeling ; and as soon as she began 
to recover, or to get a little strength, she in her going 
would spread her legs as wide as she could, and 
so lay hold with her hands on tables, chairs, forms, 
stools, etc., till she had learnt to go again ; and if 
anything vexed her, she would fall into her fits, and 
continue in them for a long time, so that we were 
afraid she would have died in one of them. 

"As soon as she recovered a little strength she 
constantly went to church to pay her devotions to 
our great and good God. She took mighty delight in 
devotion and in hearing the Word of God read and 
preached, although she herself could not read. The 
first manual operation or cure she performed was on 
my mother. The occasion was as follows : One after- 
noon in the harvest time, all our family being in the 
fields at work (and myself a boy at school), there was 
none in the house but my mother and this Anne. . My 
mother, considering that bread might be a-wanting for 
the labourers, if care were not taken, and she having 
before caused some bushels of wheat to be sent to the 
mill, which was but a quarter of a mile from our 
house, desired to hasten the miller to bring home the 
meal, that so her maids as soon as they came from the 
fields might make and bake the bread; but in the 
meantime how to dispose of her maid Anne was her 
great care, for she did not dare trust her in the house 
alone, for fear she might do herself some mischief by 
fire, or set the house on fire, for at that time she was 
so weak that she could hardly help herself, and very 
silly withal. At last, by much persuasion, my 
mother prevailed with her to walk in the gardens and 



ANNE JEFFERIES 535 

orchard till she came from the mill, to which she 
willingly consented. Then my mother locked the door 
of the house and walked to the mill ; but as she was 
coming home, she slipped and hurt her leg, so as that 
she could not rise. There she lay a considerable time 
in great pain, till a neighbour, coming by on horse- 
back, seeing my mother in this condition, lifted her 
upon his horse. As soon as she was brought within 
doors of the house, word was sent into the fields to the 
reapers, who thereupon immediately left their harvest 
work and came home. The house being presently full 
of people, a man-servant was ordered to take a horse 
and ride for Mr. Lobb, an eminent surgeon who then 
lived at Bodmin, which was eight miles from my 
father's house. But, while the man was getting the 
horse ready, in comes our maid Anne, and tells my 
mother that she was heartily sorry for the mischance she 
had got in hurting her leg, and that she did it at such a 
place, naming the place, and further, she desired she 
might see her leg. My mother at first refused to show 
her leg, saying to her. What should she show her leg 
to so poor and silly a creature as she was, for she 
could do her no good. But Anne being very im- 
portunate with my mother to see her leg, and my 
mother being unwilling to vex her by denying her, for 
fear of her falling into her fits, for at all times we dealt 
gently, lovingly, and kindly with her, did yield to her 
request, and did show her her leg. 

"Upon which Anne took my mother's leg upon her 
lap and stroked it with her hand, and then asked my 
mother if she did not find ease by her stroking of it ? 
My mother confessed to her she did. Upon this she 
desired my mother to forbear sending for the surgeon, 
for she would, by the blessing of God, cure her 
leg. And to satisfy my mother of the truth of it, she 



536 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

again appealed to my mother whether she did not find 
further ease upon her continued stroking of the part 
affected. Which my mother again acknowledged she 
did. Upon this my mother countermanded the mes- 
senger for the surgeon. On this my mother demanded 
of her how she came to the knowledge of her fall. She 
made answer that half a dozen persons had told her 
of it. 'That,' replied my mother, 'could not be, for 
there were none came by at that time but my neigh- 
bour, who brought me home.' Anne answers again 
that that was truth, and it was also true that half a 
dozen persons told her so, for, said she, 'you know 
I went out of the house into the garden and orchard 
very unwillingly ; and now I will tell you the truth 
of all matters and things that have befallen me. You 
know that this my sickness and fits came very suddenly 
upon me, which brought me very low and weak, and 
have made me very simple. Now the cause of my 
sickness was this : I was one day knitting of stockings 
in the arbour of the garden, and there came over the 
garden hedge of a sudden six small people, all in green 
clothes, which put me into such a great fright that 
was the cause of my sickness ; and they continue their 
appearance to me, never less than two at a time nor 
more than eight. They always appear in even num- 
bers — 2, 4, 6, 8. When I said often in my sickness 
they were just gone out of the window, it was really 
so, although you thought me light-headed. At this 
time, when I came out into the garden, they came to 
me and asked me if you had put me out of the house 
against my will. I told them I was unwilling to come 
out of the house. Upon this they said you should not 
fare better for it, and thereupon, in that place and 
at that time, in a fair pathway you fell and hurt your 
leg. I would not have you send for a surgeon nor 



ANNE JEFFERIES 537 

trouble yourself, for I will cure your leg.' The which 
she did in a little time. 

" This cure of my mother's leg, and the stories she 
told of those fairies, made a noise all over the county 
of Cornwall. People of all distempers, sicknesses, 
sores, and ages came not only so far off as the Land's 
End, but also from London, and were cured by her. 
She took no money of them nor any reward that 
ever I knew or heard of, yet had she monies at all 
times, sufficient to supply her wants. She neither made 
nor bought any medicines or salves that ever I saw 
or heard of, yet wanted them not as she had occasion. 
She forsook eating our victuals and was fed by those 
fairies from the harvest time to the next Christmas 
Day, upon which day she came to our table and said 
because- it was that day she would eat some roast beef 
with us, the which she did, I myself being then at the 
table. 

"One time (I remember it perfectly well) I had a 
mind to speak with her, and not knowing better where 
to find her than in her chamber, I went thither, and 
fell a-knocking very earnestly at her chamber door with 
my foot, and calling to her earnestly ' Anne ! Anne ! 
open the door and let me in.' She answered me, ' Have 
a little patience and I will let you in, immediately.' 
Upon which I looked through the keyhole of the door 
and saw her eating ; and when she had done eating 
she stood still by the bedside as long as thanks might 
be given, and then she made a courtesy (or bend) and 
opened the chamber door, and gave me a piece of the 
bread, which I did eat, and I think it was the most 
delicious bread that ever I did eat, either before or 
since. 

"Another odd passage, which I must relate, was 
this : One Lord's Day, my father with his family being 



538 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

at dinner in our hall, comes in one of our neighbours, 
whose name was Francis Heathman, and asked where 
Anne was. We told him she was in her chamber. 
Upon this he goes into her chamber to see her, but, not 
seeing her, he calls her. She not answering, he feels up 
and down the chamber for her, but not finding her, 
comes and tells us she was not in her chamber. As 
soon as he had said this, she comes out of her chamber 
to us, as we were sitting at table, and tells him she was 
in her chamber and saw him and heard him call her, 
and saw him feel up and down the chamber for her, and 
had almost felt her, but he could not see her, although 
she saw him, notwithstanding she was, at the same 
time, at the table in her chamber, eating her dinner. 

' ' One day these fairies gave my sister (the new wife 
of Mr. Humphry Martyn) then about four years of age, 
a silver cup, which held about a quart, bidding her give 
it my mother, and she did bring it my mother ; but my 
mother would not accept of it, but bid her carry it to 
them again ; which she did. I presume this was the 
time my sister owns she saw the fairies. I confess to 
your lordship, I never did see them. I had almost 
forgot to tell your lordship, that Anne would tell what 
people would come to her, several days before they 
came, and from whence, and at what time they would 
come. 

"I have seen Anne in the orchard, dancing among 
the trees, and she told me she was then dancing with 
the fairies. 

"The great noise of the many strange cures Anne 
did, and also her living without eating our victuals, she 
being fed, as she said, by these fairies, caused both the 
neighbouring magistrates and ministers to resort to my 
father's house, and talk with her, and strictly examine 
her about the matter here related ; and she gave them 



ANNE JEFFERIES 539 

very rational answers to all their questions they then 
asked her ; for by this time she was well recovered out 
of her sickness and fits, and her natural parts and 
understanding much improved, my father and all his 
family affirming the truth of all she said. 

"The ministers endeavouring to persuade her they 
were evil spirits resorted to her, and that it was the 
delusions of the devil. But how could that be when she 
did no hurt, but good to all who came to her for cure of 
their distempers ? and advised her not to go to them 
when they called her. However, that night after the 
magistrates and ministers were gone, my father, with his 
family, sitting at a great fire in the hall, Anne being 
also present, she spake to my father and said, ' Now they 
call 1 ' meaning the fairies. We all of us urged her not 
to go. In less than half a quarter of an hour she said, 
' Now they call a second time ! ' We encouraged her 
again not to go to them. By and by she said, ' Now 
they call a third time ! ' Upon which, away to her 
chamber she went to them. Of all these calls of the 
fairies, none heard them but Anne. After she had been 
in the chamber some time, she came to us again with 
a Bible in her hand, and tells us that when she came to 
the fairies, they said to her, ' What, hath there been 
some magistrates and ministers to you, and dissuaded 
you from coming any more to us, saying we are evil 
spirits, and that it is all delusions of the devil ? Pray 
desire them to read in the ist Epistle of S. John, 
chapter 4, verse i, "Dearly beloved, believe not every 
spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God."' 
This place of Scripture was turned down to in the said 
Bible. I told your lordship before, Anne could not 
read. 

"After this, one John Tregeagle, Esq., who was 
steward to John, Earl of Radnor, being then a Justice 



540 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

^of Peace in Cornwall, sent his warrant for Anne, and 
sent her to Bodmin jail, and there kept her a long time. 
That day the constable came to execute his warrant, 
Anne milking the cows, the fairies appeared to her and 
told her that a constable would come that day with 
a warrant to carry her before a justice of the peace, and 
she would be sent to jail. She asked them if she 
should hide herself. They answered. No, she should 
fear nothing, but go with the constable. So she went 
with the constable to the justice, and he sent her to 
Bodmin jail and ordered the prison-keeper that she 
should be kept without victuals ; and she was so kept, 
and yet she lived, and that without complaining. 
When the sessions came, the justices of the peace sent 
their warrant to one Giles Bawden, a neighbour of 
ours, who was then a constable, for my mother and 
myself to appear before them, at the sessions, to 
answer such questions as should be demanded of us 
about our poor maid Anne. 

" Bodmin was eight miles from my father's. When 
we came to the sessions, the first who was called in 
before the justices was my mother. What questions 
they asked her I do not remember. When they had 
done examining her, they desired her to withdraw. 
As soon as she came forth I was brought in, and called 
to the upper end of the table to be examined, and there 
was the clerk of the peace, with the pen ready in his 
hand, to take my examination. The first question they 
asked me was, 'What have you got in your pockets?' 
I answered, 'Nothing, sir, but my cuffs': which I 
immediately plucked out and I showed them. The 
second question to me was. If I had any victuals in 
my pockets for my maid Anne? I answered I had 
not ; and so they dismissed me, as well as my mother. 
But poor Anne lay in jail for a considerable time after ; 



ANNE JEFFERIES 54' 

and also Justice Tregeagle, who was her great perse- 
cutor, kept her in his house some time as a prisoner, 
and that without victuals. And at last when Anne was 
discharged out of prison, the justice made an order 
that Anne should not live any more with my father. 
Whereupon my father's only sister, Mrs. Frances Tom, 
a widow, near Padstow, took Anne into her family, 
and there she lived a considerable time and did many 
cures ; but what they were, my kinsman, Mr. William 
Tom, who there lived in the house with his mother, 
can give your lordship the best account of any I know 
living, except Anne herself. And from hence she went 
to live with her own brother, and, in process of time, 
married, etc. 

" I am your lordship's most humble and dutiful 
servant, 

" Moses Pitt. 

"May isi, 1699." 

There are several points to be considered in this 
curious story. It is written in all good faith, and is 
an honest account of what Pitt remembered of events 
that took place some fifty years previously, when he 
was a boy. 

There is nothing in the first portion of the story that 
cannot be explained without the intervention of fairies 
or pixies ; but it is not so easy to account for Anne's 
abstaining wholly from the food of mortals like herself 
and being sustained on fairy food. It is not uncommon 
for women to pretend that they do not eat ; there have 
been many "fasting girls," but all have been shown 
up to be impostors. In this case, however, Anne 
Jefferies did not pretend to be a fasting girl, but to be 
nourished by fairies. In the house of the Pitts she 
might have surreptitiously procured food, but this she 



542 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

could not do in the jail at Bodmin, nor in the house 
of Justice Tregeagle. 

As to the cures she wrought, they are to be put in 
the same category as faith cures all the world over, 
whether performed at Lourdes, or by Christian scien- 
tists, or by Shamans in the steppes of Tartary. 

Moses Pitt, the writer of the letter, was the son of 
John Pitt, yeoman, of S. Teath ; he was bound appren- 
tice to Robert Litterbury, citizen and haberdasher, in 
London, for seven years from October ist, 1654. He 
became a foreman of the Haberdashers' Company 
8th November, 1661, and started as a publisher and 
speculative builder. In 1680 he began to issue The 
English Atlas at his shop "The Angel," in S. Paul's 
Churchyard. It was to be in twelve volumes, and was 
dedicated to the King, but was never completed, as he 
got into difficulties. In the first place he became sole 
executor to a Captain Richard Mill, who had tenant 
right to the " Blue Boar's Head," in King Street, West- 
minster, at an annual rent of ;£^20. Pitt had to pay 
this, and also Captain Mill's widow an annuity of ;^5o. 
But he found the "Blue Boar's Head" so dilapidated that 
he had to rebuild it at a heavy outlay before he could 
let it. Then he had a quarrel with a neighbour about 
a party wall he was rebuilding, leading to law pro- 
ceedings, and Pitt was cast in costs and damages. But 
his most serious loss was entailed by his building a 
house for Lord Chancellor Jeffreys, which that judge 
agreed to take at ;^300 per annum. As part of the 
land on which it was to be built was Crown property, 
Jeffreys guaranteed Pitt that he would obtain a lease 
for ninety-nine years of it, and bade him hurry on the 
building. When Pitt had spent ;^40oo on it, Jeffreys 
was disgraced and fell, owing to the flight of James II 
and the advent of William of Orange. Pitt, greatly 



ANNE JEFFERIES 543 

embarrassed for money, fled to Ireland ; he mortgaged 
his estates for ;£'30oo, but as his creditors were not 
satisfied, he was finally arrested and sent to the Fleet 
Prison April i8th, 1689, where he remained till the 
i6th May, 1691, when he was transferred to the King's 
Bench. 

He published in the same year "The Cry of the 
Oppressed, being a true and tragical account of the 
unparallel'd suffering of multitudes of poor imprisoned 
debtors in most of the gaols of England, under the 
tyranny of the gaolers and other oppressors. . . . To- 
gether with the case of the Publisher." The sufferings 
of the debtors he knew by personal experience, and his 
revelation is one of horrors perpetrated in the Fleet 
and elsewhere, and illustrated with very graphic copper- 
plates.. His account of his own troubles occupies sixty- 
seven pages, and shows him to have been a reckless 
speculator. Having been educated as a haberdasher, 
he undertook to be a publisher, and simultaneously to 
be a builder. 

He probably obtained his release before 1695, as in 
that year he published a letter relative to some dis- 
courses upon Dr. Burnet and Dr. Tillotson, by a parson 
named George Hicker, d.d., and in 1696 he wrote the 
account of Anne Jefferies, given above. He was married 
to a Miss Upman. The date of his death is not known. 
Justice Tregeagle, who was the special "persecutor" of 
Anne Jefferies, is very well remembered in Cornish 
legend. He was a particularly wicked man and harsh 
steward, and lies buried near the chancel of S. Breock. 
His home was Trevorder, in that parish. 



THOMAS KILLIGREW, THE 
KING'S JESTER 

THE Killigrew family seems to have possessed 
a great hankering after the stage, for four of 
them were playwrights. Indeed, Henry 
Killigrew, educated at Christ Church, Ox- 
ford, began at the age of seventeen, when a play written 
by him was performed at the nuptials of Lord 
Charles Herbert with Lady Mary Villiers, at the Black 
Friars. Some critics present objected that one of the 
characters, representing a boy of seventeen, talked too 
freely for his age, and Falkland replied "that it was 
neither monstrous nor impossible for one of seventeen 
years to speak at such a rate ; when he that made him 
speak in that manner, and who wrote the whole play, 
was himself no older." 

Sir William Killigrew, Knt., who was loyal to 
Charles I, and stood high in favour with Charles II, 
usher of the privy chamber and vice-chamberlain to 
the Queen, also wrote plays, tragi-comedies, but they 
do not appear to have taken with the public. 

But the man who was most stage-stricken of the family 
was Thomas, the fourth son of Sir Robert Killigrew, born 
in 1611. He became early in life page of honour to 
Charles I, and he attended Charles II when in exile. 
At this period, when Charles was sorely in need of 
money, Thomas Killigrew was despatched as "Resi- 
dent" to Venice, in 1652, "to borrow money of English 

544 




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!' "' . ■[ ///,/ ( Ihii I. : 1/ V ri7/< 



THOMAS KILLIGREW, KING'S JESTER 545 

merchants for his (Charles's) owne subsistence," and 
"to press the Duke to furnish Us with a present some 
(sum) of money and we will engage ourselves by any 
Act or Acts to repay with interest, and so likewise for 
any Arms or Ammunition he shall be pleased to furnish 
Us withall. The summe you shall move him to fur- 
nish Us with shall be Ten thousand Pistolls." 

According to Hyde, Charles misdoubted the suit- 
ableness of Killigrew for this delicate negotiation ; and 
was finally prevailed to send him, simply to gratify 
Tom. 

The misgivings of the Prince were justified, for 
Killigrew and his servants behaved so badly at Venice 
that the Doge, Francisco Erizzo, had to complain 
through his ambassador. 

Sir Edward Hyde, in a letter to Sir Richard Browne, 
wrote: "I have informed the Kinge of the Venetian 
Ambassador's complainte against Mr. Killigrew, with 
which His Majesty is very much troubled, and resolves 
upon his returne hither to examyne his miscarriage, 
and to proceed therein in such a manner as shall be 
worthy of him, and as may manifest his respecte to 
that Commonwealth, with which the Crowne of 
Englande hath alwayes held a very stricte amity, and 
His Majesty's Ministers have in all places preserved a 
very good correspondence with the Ministers of that 
State, and therefore His Majesty is more sensible of 
this misdemeanour of his Resident." 

On Killigrew's return to the Court of S. Germain, 
Sir John Denham addressed him in these lines : — 

Our Resident Tom 

From Venice has come, 
And has left the Statesman behind him ; 

Talks at the same pitch, 

Is as wise, is as rich, 
And just where you left him, you find him. 

2 N 



546 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

But who says he is not 

A man of much plot, 
May repent of this false accusation ; 

Having plotted and penn'd 

Six plays to attend 
The Farce of his negotiation. 

But although Charles might put on an appearance of 
being indignant, and though he was vexed that Tom 
did not return laden with " pistolls," he was too careless 
and too fond of being entertained to part with his 
principal buffoon. But thenceforth he employed him 
mainly in transactions about wine, canary and sack, of 
which the Prince needed much. 

The story is told of Louis XIV that he had heard 
much of the wit of Tom Killigrew, and sent for him to 
Versailles, where he talked to him, but could elicit 
nothing from him. Thinking that this proceeded from 
shyness he drew him apart, and led him into the 
gallery to show him the pictures. There he asked him 
if he knew what they represented. Tom expressed his 
ignorance, whereupon the King led him before a paint- 
ing of the Crucifixion, and asked him what that repre- 
sented. "I believe, your Majesty," replied Tom, 
"that it is a picture of Christ between two thieves." 
" And who might they be? " 

" Your Majesty and the Pope," replied the audacious 
jester. 

The first wife of Thomas Killigrew was Cecilia, a 
daughter of Sir John Crofts, of Saxham, in Suffolk, 
and he was married to her on June 29th, 1636. 

The weather on the wedding day was rude and 
boisterous, which gave rise to some lines by Thomas 
Carew : — 

Such should this day be ; so the sun should hide 

His bashful face, and let the conquering bride 

Without a rivall shine, whilst he forbears 

To mingle his unequall beams with hers ; 



THOMAS KILLIGREW, KING'S JESTER 547 

Or if sometime he glance his squinting eye 
Between the parting clouds, 'tis but to spye, 
Not emulate her glories ; so comes drest 
In vayles, but as a masquer to the feast," 

She brought her husband a fortune of ;£'io,opo, and a 
son and heir, Henry, born in April, 1637. She was 
buried the 5th January, 1638, in Westminster Abbey. 
Tom married again, when in exile, at the Hague, and 
his second wife was Charlotte, daughter of John van 
Hesse, a Dutch woman. The marriage took place 
26th January, 1655, ^^^ by her he had three sons, 
Robert, Charles, and Thomas. 

At length came the recall of Charles to England, 
and Tom Killigrew accompanied him in the same 
vessel, very lighthearted, and expectant of great 
things. Pepys had gone over to meet the King, and 
he says. May 24th, 1660: "Walking upon the decks, 
were persons of honoiir all the afternoon, among others 
Thomas Killigrew, a merry droll, but a gentleman of 
great esteem with the King, who told us many merry 
stories." Among them one Pepys quotes, which is 
profane. 

Thomas Killigrew was appointed Groom of the Bed- 
chamber, with a salary of ;£'40O per annum, which he 
augmented by receiving bribes from those who were 
solicitous to obtain posts under the Crown, and to use 
his influence with the King to get them. 

He had now an opportunity of producing on the 
London stage the plays that he had composed whilst 
abroad. Of these there were eight, comedies and tragi- 
comedies, all borrowed, none exhibiting any genuine 
wit, but steeped in ordure. One, The Parson's Wed- 
ding, borrowed from The Antiquary, by Shakerly 
Marmion, and Raw Alley, by Lord Barrey, was actually 
to be performed wholly by women. It has been well said 



548 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

by Mr. Tregellas: "We find ourselves indeed 'sur- 
rounded by foreheads of bronze, hearts like the nether 
millstone, and tongues set on fire of hell,' I must add 
that they have scarcely a sparkle of that witty wicked- 
ness which one meets with in the writings of Sir Charles 
Sedley." 

All Killigrew's plays were printed in folio in 1644. 
Pepys did not see much merit in them. Of The Parson's 
Wedding he says : " Luellin tells me what an obscene, 
loose play this is, that is acted by nothing but women, 
at the King's House." Of Claracilla, "a poor play." 
Oi Love at First Sight, " I find the play to be a poor 
thing, and so I perceive every body else do." Nor did 
he think much of Killigrew's conversation. He described 
it as " poor and frothy." 

In The Companion to the Playhouse, 1764, there are 
some stories told of Killigrew. 

"After the Restoration he continued in high favour 
with the King, and had frequently access to him when 
he was denied to the first peers of the realm ; and being 
a man of great wit and liveliness of parts, and having 
from his long intimacy with that monarch, and being 
continually about his person during his troubles, 
acquired a freedom of familiarity with him, which 
even the pomp of Majesty afterwards could not check 
in him, he sometimes, by way of jest, which King 
Charles was ever fond of, if genuine, even tho' himself 
was the object of the satire, would adventure bold 
truths which scarcely any one beside would have dared 
even to hint to. One story in particular is related of 
him, which, if true, is a strong proof of the great 
lengths he would sometimes proceed in his freedoms of 
this kind, which is as follows : When the King's un- 
bounded passion for women had given his mistress 
such an ascendancy over him, that, like the effeminate 



THOMAS KILLIGREW, KING'S JESTER 549 

Persian monarch, he was fitter to have handled a dis- 
taff than to wield a sceptre, and for the conversation of 
his concubines utterly neglected the most important 
affairs of state, Mr. Killigrew went to pay his Majesty 
a visit in his private apartments, habited like a pil- 
grim who was bent on a long journey. The King, 
surprised at the oddity of his appearance, immediately 
asked him what was the meaning Of it, and whither 
he was going. To HelW bluntly replied the man. 
' Prithee,' said the King, 'what can your errand be to 
that place?' 'To fetch back Oliver Cromwell,' re- 
joined he, 'that he may take some care of the affairs 
of England, for his successor takes none at all.'" 

This was not the only time that Killigrew gave good 
counsel to the King. Pepys says: "Mr. Pierce did 
tell me as a great truth, as being told by Mr. Cowley, 
who was by, and heard it, that Tom Killigrew should 
publicly tell the King that his matters were coming 
into a very ill state, and that yet there was a way to 
help all. Says he : ' There is a good, honest, able 
man, that I could name, that, if your Majesty would 
employ, and command to see all things well executed, 
all things would soon be mended ; and this one is 
Charles Stuart, who now spends his time in employing 
his lips about the Court, and hath no other employ- 
ment, but if you would give him this employment, he 
were the fittest man in the world to perform it ' This, 
he says, is most true ; but the King do not profit by 
any of this, but lays it aside, and remembers nothing, 
but to his pleasures again." 

On another occasion Killigrew is said to have placed 
under the candlestick where Charles II supped, five 
small papers, oil each of which he had written the 
word ALL. The King on seeing them, asked what he 
meant by these five words. " If your Majesty will 



550 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

grant my pardon, I will tell you," was his reply. Par- 
don being promised, Killigrew said: "The first all 
signified that the country had sent all it could to the 
exchequer ; the second, that the City had lent all it 
could and would ; the third, that the Court had spent 
all ; the fourth, that if we did not mend all ; the fifth 
would be the worse for all." 

This was afterwards adapted and turned upon the 
family of William of Orange : " That he was William 
Think-all ; his queen Mary Take-all ; Prince George 
of Denmark, George Drink-all ; and Princess Anne, 
Anne Eat-all." 

Although Thomas Killigrew went by the desig- 
nation of the King's Jester, he held no official position 
as such. 

"Mr. Cooling told us how the King, once speaking 
of the Duke of York's being mastered by his wife, said 
to some of the company, by that he would go no more 
abroad with this Tom Otter (a hen-pecked husband in 
Ben Jonson's EptccBne), meaning the Duke of York 
and his wife. Tom Killigrew, being by, said, ' Sir, 
pray which is the best, for a man to be a Tom Otter to 
his wife or to his mistress?' meaning the King's 
being so to my Lady Castlemaine." 

Killigrew was engaged one morning with one of his 
own plays, which he took up in the window, whilst His 
Majesty was shaving. "Ah, Killigrew," asked the 
King, "what will you say at the Last Day in defence 
of the idle words in that book?" To which Tom re- 
plied, that he could give a better account of his "idle 
words," than the King would be able to give respect- 
ing his "idle promises and more idle patents, that had 
undone more than ever did his books." 

"One more story is related of him, which is not 
barren of humour. King Charles's fondness for plea- 



THOMAS KILLIGREW, KING'S JESTER 551 

sure, to which he almost always made business give way, 
used frequently to delay affairs of consequence, from 
His Majesty's disappointing the Council of his presence 
when met for dispatch of business, which neglect gave 
great disgust and offence to many of those who were 
treated with this seeming disrespect. On one of these 
occasions the Duke of Lauderdale, who was naturally 
impetuous and turbulent, quitted the council-chamber 
in a violent passion, and, meeting Mr. Killigrew 
presently after, expressed himself on the occasion in 
very disrespectful terms of His Majesty. Killigrew 
begged His Grace to moderate his passion, and offered 
to lay him a wager of a hundred pounds that he him- 
self would prevail on His Majesty to come to the 
council within half an hour. The Duke, surprised at 
the boldness of the assertion, and warmed by his re- 
sentment against the King, accepted the wager, on 
which Killigrew immediately went to the King, and 
without ceremony told him what had happened, adding 
these words: 'I knew that Your Majesty hated Lauder- 
dale, though the necessity of your affairs compels you 
to carry an outward appearance of civility ; now, if 
you choose to be rid of a man who is thus disagree- 
able to you, you need only go this once to council, for 
I know his covetous disposition so perfectly, that I am 
well persuaded, rather than pay this hundred pounds, 
he would hang himself out of the way, and never 
plague you more.' 

"The King was so pleased with the archness of the 
observation, that he immediately replied, ' Well, then, 
Killigrew, I positively will go.' And kept his word 
accordingly." 

Pepys has a good deal to say about Killigrew. He 
tells how Killigrew became enamoured of the stage 
when a boy. "He would go to the ' Red Bull,' and 



552 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

when the man cried to the boys, ' Who will go and be 
a devil, and he shall see the play for nothing?' then 
would he go in, and be a devil upon the stage, and so 
get to see plays." 

2nd August, 1664. "To the King's playhouse, and 
there saw BartJwlomew Fayre, which do still please me, 
and is, as it is acted, the best comedy in the world, 
I believe. I chanced to sit by Tom Killigrew, who 
tells me that he is setting up a nursery (for actors), that 
is, is going to build a house in Moorefields, wherein he 
will have common plays acted." 

1 2th February, 1666-7. "With my Lord Bronnaker 
by coach to his house, there to hear some Italian 
musique, and there we met Tom Killigrew, Sir Robert 
Murray, and the Italian, Signor Baptista, who hath 
proposed a play in Italian for the Opera, which T. 
Killigrew do intend to have up." 

Thomas Killigrew was nearly sixty years old when 
he narrowly escaped assassination in S. James's Park. 
He had been carrying on an intrigue with Lady Shrews- 
bury, but found a dangerous and more successful rival 
in the Duke of Buckingham. Whereupon in spite 
and revenge he poured over the lady a stream of foul 
and venomous satire. The result was that one even- 
ing, on his return from the Duke of York's, some 
ruffians, hired for the purpose, set upon Tom's chair, 
through which they passed their swords three times, 
wounding him in the arm. The assassins then fled, 
having killed his man, and believing they had killed 
Tom Killigrew. 

He recovered from his wound, lived on thirteen or 
fourteen years longer, and was buried in Westminster 
Abbey on 19th March, 1682-3. 

His son Thomas was a playwright, and his son 
Charles proprietor of "the Playhouse, Drury Lane," 



THOMAS KILLIGREW, KING'S JESTER 553 

The Killigrews have now passed, not individually 
only, but as a family off the stage of life, and are re- 
membered only by their deeds, good and bad, as re- 
corded in history. It was usually said of Tom Killigrew 
that when he attempted to write he was dull, whereas 
in conversation he was smart ; and this was precisely 
the reverse of Cowley, who did not shine in conversa- 
tion, but sparkled with his pen. In allusion to this 
Denham wrote : — 

Had Cowley ne'er spoken, and Killigrew ne'er writ, 
Combin'd in one, they'd make a matchless wit. 



NICOLAS ROSCARROCK 

NICOLAS ROSCARROCK was the fifth son 
of Richard Roscarrock, of Roscarrock, in 
S. Endelion, by Isabell, daughter of Richard 
Trevenor. His grandmother was a Bos- 
cawen. His father during his lifetime had settled upon 
him the estates of Penhall, Carbura, and Newtown, 
in the parishes of S. Cleer and S. Germans. 

He first studied at Exeter College, Oxford, and took 
his B.A. in 1568, Carew, in his Survey of Cornwall, 
p. 299, tells us of "his industrious delight in matters 
of history and antiquity." 

In 1577 Roscarrock was admitted student of the 
Inner Temple. In the same year was published by 
Richard Tottell The Worthies of Armorie . . . col- 
lected and gathered by John Bossewell, to which were 
prefixed ninety-four verses, entitled Cilenus, Censur 
of the Author of his High Court of Herehautty, by 
Nicolas Roscarrocke. 

In the Inner Temple he seems to have been associ- 
ated with Raleigh, for in 1576 appeared The Steeple- 
glas, a satyre, and among commendatory verses are 
some signed " N. R." and the rest by "Walter Rawely 
of the Inner Temple." 

In 1577 he was in Cornwall, where he suffered much 
annoyance because of his faith, as he refused to con- 
form to the English liturgy, and maintained the Papal 
supremacy. It was in 1570 that Pope Pius V had 
issued a bull of excommunication against Elizabeth, 

SS4 



NICOLAS ROSCARROCK 555 

deprived her of her title to the crown, and absolved 
her subjects from their oaths of allegiance. This 
violent and ill-judged proceeding at once converted all 
those who held by the Pope into suspected traitors ; 
and measures were adopted against them, the more so 
as the Jesuits and their agents were more than suspected 
of forming plots for the assassination of the Queen. 

Nicolas Roscarrock was accused at Launceston 
Assizes on September i6th, 1577, "for not going to 
church." He was in London later, and was an active 
member of the "Young Men's Club," 1579-81. 

From the State Papers, 1547-50, we learn that two 
spies were employed by the Government to discover 
Nicolas Roscarrock. He had, however, probably fled 
to Douay, where a Roscarrock is entered in the Douay 
Diary as landing on September, 1580. 

But he was again in England in 1581, when he was 
sent to the Tower, where by a refinement of cruelty he 
was placed in a cell adjoining that of a friend who had 
been racked, that the moans of the latter might intimi- 
date Roscarrock into giving evidence of plots against 
the life of the Queen. On January 14th, 1581, Nicolas 
was himself tortured on the rack. He remained for 
five years in prison in the Tower, and in the Fleet 
again till 1594, in all fourteen years. 

He was finally released, and went in 1607 north to 
Naworth to Lord William Howard, with whom he re- 
mained till his death, which took place in 1633 or 1634, 
when he had reached an advanced age. 

Such in brief is the history of Nicolas Roscarrock. 

Whilst he was at Naworth, he occupied himself in 
compiling a volume of the Lives of the English Saints. 

The first part he wrote with his own hand, but as his 
sight failed, he was obliged to employ an amanuensis, 
who wrote very untidily and made strange havoc of 



556 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

many of the names, which he wrote phonetically from 
dictation. The MS. has undergone annotation by two 
hands : one was Roscarrock himself, who added in 
matters which reached him later ; the other was Dom 
Gregory Hungate, a Benedictine. 

As far as can be judged, the MS. was compiled be- 
tween 1610 and 1625.1 

After the dispersion of Lord William Howard's 
library, we do not know what became of the book till 
about 1700, when it formed a portion of a library be- 
queathed to Brent Eleigh parish, in Suffolk, by a certain 
Mr. Edward Colman, sometime of Trinity College, 
Cambridge. Here it seems to have undergone rough 
usage, and it was probably there that the MS. lost so 
many pages torn out. As it is, it consists of no fewer 
than 850 pages ; folio 253 is missing, also some pages 
from the beginning and something like ninety at the 
end that have been torn out. 

At the sale of the Brent Eleigh Library, the MS. 
was purchased by the University Library managers, 
Cambridge, and it is now in that library (Add. MS. 

3041)- 

It is a thick volume, measuring i ft. by 8^ in. 

It possesses an Introduction, "How Saynts may be 
esteemed soe, Secondlye of their Commemorations and 
the trewest enfalliblest manner of discovering them, 
and what Course the Collector of this Alphebitt of 

^ Authorities for his life : Ormsby, The Household Books of Lord 
William Howard, Surtees Soc, 1878, pp. 506 et seq. ; Gildew's Bio- 
graphical Dictionary of English Catholics ; Jesuits in Conflict, 1873, 
p. 206 ; the Douay Diaries, ed. Knox ; Boase and Courtney's Biblio- 
graphia Cornubiensis ; Notes and Queries, 5th series, IV, 402-4 (1875); 
Morris, Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers, ist series, 1872, p. 95, 
2nd series, 1875, pp. 33, 79-80 ; Challoner's Memoirs of Missionary 
Priests, p. 32 ; Diet, of National Biography, State Papers, etc. ; an 
admirable and exhaustive Life in MS. by Rev. E. Nolan, Trinity College, 
Cambridge, in the University Library, Cambridge. 



NICOLAS ROSCARROCK 557 

Saints that he observed in this Collection." Then 
follows an article on the Canonizing of Saints, and 
another "Of the Course and Order which is to be 
observed in my Collection." Then ensues a Calendar, 
and this is followed by an alphabetical biographical 
notice of the saints to Simon Sudbury, where the rest 
is torn away. 

Nicolas Roscarrock had recourse mainly to printed 
authorities, to Capgrave, Surius, Harpsfield, and to 
Whytford's Martyrologie. But he had also access to 
the MSS. of Edward Powell, a Welsh priest, who had 
a considerable collection of Welsh saintly pedigrees. 
With regard to the Cornish saints, he records current 
traditions of his time, that he had collected in his 
youth. But he had also a MS. Cornish life of 
S. Columba, to which Hals refers. Unhappily, he . 
has not given us the original, only its substance. And 
he quotes from a Cornish hymn or ballad relative to 
S. Mabenna, but which to our great regret he does not 
give. Here and there he indulges in verses of his own 
composition in honour of the saints, but they are of 
no poetic merit. 

In the volume is a letter undated, addressed by one 
W. Webbe to — ^we suppose — the chaplain at Naworth. 
It is as follows : — 

" Most Worthy Syr, 

" Mr. Trewenna Roscarrock found in the library 
of Oxford a story of a certain Christian and his wife 
who came out of Ireland with their children to fly the 
persecution, and lived in Cornwall : and after some 
tyme both he and his wife with the children suffered 
martyrdom in Cornwall, and in their honour were faire 
Churches dedicated. Some of the names of these 
saints (as wee suppose) wear these as follow : — 



558 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

"S. Essye, S. Milior, S. Que, S. Einendar, S. Eue, 
S. Maubon, S. Breage, S. Earvin, S. Merrine, &c. , 

' ' They were about 20 at the least ; the story at large, 
Mr. Roscarrock's Book, and keeping noe coppy of it 
lent it to his brother, Mr. Nicolas Roscarocke, who 
lived and dyed at my Lord William Hoard's House in 
y^ North. 

"Now some worthye Catholickes of Cornwall being 
desirous to understand the full story, to the end they 
may the better honour these Saynts of their County, 
besought me to write unto the North about this, and 
get out of Mr. Nicolas Roscarocke's writings this story, 
they knowing that he was wont to compile together 
such monuments for further memorye. I did soe and 
I was assured by a good Gentleman a friend of mine, 
and who actually lives with the house, that Sir William 
Hoard, my Lord William's son, had Mr. Nicolas Ros- 
carock's written booke, and papers, and that he would 
most willingly pleasure my Countrymen in this holy 
desire of theirs — Wherefore Worthy Syr I shall humble 
intreate you for God's sake, and for the honours of 
these glorious [sai^Jnts martyrs, to deale efficaciously 
with Syr William Hoard [to obtajine a copy of this 
story for all our comforts and wee [shall be aljwayes 
obleidged to pray for you and Syr William [both in] 
this worlde and in the next. 

" Your servant to his honor, 

"H. Webbe." 

' A corner of the letter is torn off, but it is easy to supply the missing 
portions of the words and sentences. 



LIEUTENANT PHILIP G. KING 

THE Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy, 
near the close of 1786, advertised for a 
certain number of vessels to be taken up for 
the purpose of conveying between seven 
and eight hundred male and female convicts to Botany 
Bay, in New South Wales, whither it had been deter- 
mined by the Government to transport them, after 
having sought in vain upon the African coast for a 
situation possessing the requisites for the establish- 
ment of a penal colony. The following vessels were 
at length contracted for, and assembled in the Thames 
to fit and take in stores : the Alexander, Scarborough, 
Charlotte, Lady Penrhyn, and Friendship as trans- 
ports ; and the Fishboume, Golden Grove, and Borrow- 
dale — these latter as storeships. The Prince of Wales 
was afterwards added to the number of transports. 
The transports immediately prepared for the reception 
of the convicts, and the storeships took on board 
provisions for two years, with tools, implements of 
agriculture, seeds, etc. 

On October 24th Captain Arthur Phillips hoisted a 
pennant on board H.M.S. Sirius, of twenty guns, then 
lying at Deptford. As the government of the medi- 
tated colony, as well as the command of the Sirius, was 
given to Captain Phillips, it was thought necessary to 
appoint another captain to her, who might command 
on any service in which she might be employed for 
the colony, while Captain Phillips would be engaged 

559 



56o CORNISH CHARACTERS 

supervising the convicts on shore. For this purpose 
John Hunter was nominated second captain of the 
Sirius, 

On March 5th, 1787, order for embarkation arrived, 
and on Monday, May 7th, Captain Phillips arrived at 
Portsmouth and took command of the little fleet, then 
lying at the Mother Bank. 

Phillips had with him two lieutenants, Philip Gidley 
King and Mr. Dawes. 

Philip G. King was the son of Philip King, a draper 
in Launceston, by his wife, the daughter of John 
Gidley, attorney, of Exeter. Philip G. King was born 
at Launceston 23rd April, 1758. He was midshipman 
on board the Swallow in 1770-5, and now was placed 
under Captain Phillips to assist in the settlement of 
felons in a colony at Botany Bay. 

Whilst the little fleet was on its way down the Chan- 
nel, it was discovered that a plot had been formed 
among the convicts on board the Scarborough to mutiny. 
They hoped to obtain command of the vessel, when 
those in the other transports would follow their exam- 
ple, and they trusted that the entire fleet would fall 
into their power. The scheme was insane, as H.M.S. 
Sirius could knock the transports to pieces with her 
guns. The plot was betrayed by one of the convicts 
to the commanding officer on board the Scarborough^ 
and he at once communicated with Captain Phillips. 
The two ringleaders were brought on board the Sirius, 
and each was given two dozen lashes. 

The fleet sailed for Teneriffe, and thence, on the i ith 
June, for Rio de Janeiro ; and from thence for the Cape 
of Good Hope. 

On November loth, Captain Phillips sailed ahead of 
the fleet in the Supply to reconnoitre the coast of New 
South Wales, and ascertain where best to land, and he 




n Sl>- I 




LIEUTENANT PHILIP GIDLEY KING 



LIEUTENANT PHILIP G. KING 561 

took with him the Alexander, the Scarborough, and the 
Friendship, and having on board his two lieutennats, 
King and Dawes. 

On January 19th, 1788, he landed in Botany Bay, 
and sent Lieutenant King to survey the coast and 
inland as far as might be. 

Botany Bay being found to be a station of inferior 
advantages to what was expected, and no spot appear- 
ing proper for the colony, Governor Phillips at once 
resolved to transfer it to another excellent inlet, about 
twelve miles further to the north, called Port Jackson, 
on the south side of which, at a spot called Sydney 
Cove, the settlement was decided to be made. 

The spot chosen for this purpose was at the head of 
the cove, near a run of fresh water, which stole silently 
along through a very thick wood, the stillness of which 
had thus, for the first time since the Creation, been 
interrupted by the rude sound of the labourer's axe 
and the downfall of the ancient inhabitants — a stillness 
and tranquillity which from that day were to give place 
to the noise of labour, the confusion of carriers, and 
all the clamour of the bringing on shore of the stores, 
and the erection of habitations. 

A flagstaff was set up and the Union Jack hoisted, 
when the Marines fired several volleys, and the healths 
of the King and Royal Family were drunk, as well as 
success to the new colony. 

The disembarkation of the troops and convicts took 
place on the following day. 

The confusion that ensued will not be wondered at 
when it is considered that every man stepped from his 
boat literally into a virgin forest. Parties of people 
were to be seen on all sides variously employed, some 
in clearing ground for the different encampments, 
others in pitching tents, or bringing up such stores as 
2 o 



562 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

were more immediately needed. As the woods were 
opened and the ground cleared, the various encamp- 
ments were extended, and all gradually assumed the 
appearance of regularity, 

A portable canvas house, brought over for the 
governor, was erected on the south side of the cove, 
which was named Sydney, in compliment to the prin- 
cipal Secretary of State for the Home Department. 
There also a small body of convicts was put under 
tents. The detachment of marines was encamped at 
the head of the cove near the stream, and on the west 
side was planted the main body of convicts. 

The women were not disembarked till the 6th Feb- 
ruary, when, every person belonging to the settlement 
being landed, the whole amounted to 1030 persons. 
The tents for the sick were placed on the west side, and 
it was observed with concern that their number was 
fast increasing. Scurvy, that had not appeared during 
the voyage, now broke out, and this, along with 
dysentery, began to fill the hospital, and several died. 

In addition to the medicines that were administered, 
every species of esculent plant that could be found in 
the country was procured for them — wild celery, 
spinach, and parsley fortunately grew in abundance. 
Those who were in health, as well as the sick, were 
glad to introduce this wholesome addition to their 
ration of salt meat. 

The public stock, consisting of one bull, four cows, 
one bull-calf, one stallion, three mares, and three colts, 
were landed and left to crop the pasturage of the little 
farm that had been formed at the head of an adjoining 
cove, and which had been placed under the direction of 
a man brought out for the purpose by the Governor, 

Some ground having been dug over and prepared 
near His Excellency's house on the south side, the plants 



LIEUTENANT PHILIP G. KING 563 

brought from Rio de Janeiro and from the Cape were 
planted, and the colonists soon had the satisfaction of 
seeing the grapes, figs, oranges, pears, and apples— in 
a word, the best fruits of the Old World — taking root 
and establishing themselves in this their New World, 

As soon as the hurry and turmoil of disembarkation 
had subsided, the Governor caused His Majesty's 
commission appointing him to be Captain-General and 
Governor-in-Chief of New South Wales and its de- 
pendencies, to be publicly read, and he then addressed 
the convicts, assuring them that "he would be ever 
ready to show approbation and encouragement to those 
who proved themselves worthy of them by good con- 
duct and attention to orders ; while, on the other hand, 
such as were determined to act in opposition to pro- 
priety, and observe a contrary conduct, would inevitably 
meet with the punishment they deserved." 

The convicts from the first gave much trouble. They 
secreted the tools, so as to avoid being compelled to 
work, and it was found almost impossible to get work 
out of them, as there was a deficiency of proper men to 
set over them. Those who were so placed were for 
the most part also convicts, men who by their con- 
duct during the voyage had recommended them- 
selves, and these had been appointed foremen over the 
rest, but it was soon discovered that they lacked the 
authority requisite. The sailors from the transports, 
though repeatedly forbidden to do so and frequently 
punished, persisted in bringing spirits on shore every 
night, and drunkenness was often the consequence. 

Before the month of February was half through, 
a plot among the convicts to rob the store was dis- 
covered. This was the more unpardonable in that the 
rations given out to the convicts were precisely the same 
as those served to the soldiers. Each male convict 



564 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

received as his weekly portion 7 lb. biscuits, i lb. flour, 
7 lb. beef, 4 lb. pork, 3 pints of peas, 6 oz. of butter ; 
the women received one-third less. 

The ringleaders were charged before a Court that 
was summoned. One was hanged, another reprieved on 
condition of becoming the public executioner ; the rest 
had milder sentences. 

The Governor having received instructions to estab- 
lish another settlement on Norfolk Island, the Supply 
sailed for that place in the midst of February under the 
command of Lieutenant King of the Sirius, named by 
Captain Phillips superintendent and commandant of 
the settlement to be formed there. Lieutenant King 
took with him one surgeon, one petty officer, two 
private soldiers, two persons who pretended to have 
some knowledge of flax-dressing, and nine male and 
six female convicts. This little party was to be landed 
with tents, clothing, implements of husbandry, tools for 
dressing flax, etc., and provisions for six months, before 
the expiration of which time it was intended to send 
them a fresh supply. 

Norfolk Island was to be settled with a view to the 
cultivation of flax, which at the time when the island 
was discovered by Captain Cook was found growing 
most luxuriantly where he had landed ; this was the 
i%ormzife«ax. New Zealand flax. 

Mr. King, previous to his departure for the new 
settlement, was sworn in as a Justice of Peace, and was 
empowered to punish such petty offences as might be 
committed among the settlers ; capital crime being 
reserved for the cognizance of the Criminal Court 
of Judicature, established at Sydney by Governor 
Phillips. 

The Supply reached Norfolk Island on February 29th, 
but for five succeeding days was not able to effect a 



LIEUTENANT PHILIP G. KING 565 

landing, being prevented by a surf that was breaking 
with violence on a reef that lay across the principal 
bay. Lieutenant King had nearly given up all hopes 
of being able to land, when a small opening was dis- 
covered in the reef wide enough to admit a boat. 
Through this he succeeded in passing safely, along 
with his people and stores. When landed, he could 
nowhere find a space clear for pitching a tent, and he 
had to cut through an almost impenetrable jungle before 
he could encamp himself and his people. 

Of the stock he carried with him, he lost the only 
she-goat he had, and one ewe. He had named the 
bay wherein he landed and planted his settlement, 
Sydney ; and had given the names of Phillip and 
Nepean to two small islands situated at a small 
distance from it. 

The soil of Norfolk Island was ascertained to be very 
rich, but Sydney Bay was exposed to the southerly 
winds, which drove the surf furiously over the reef. 
The Supply lost one of her hands, who was drowned 
in attempting to pass through the reef. There was a 
small bay on the further side of the island, but it was at 
a considerable distance from the settlement. 

On February 14th, 1789, Lieutenant Ball sailed for 
Norfolk Island in the Golden Grove with provisions and 
convicts, twenty-one male, six female convicts, and 
three children ; of the latter two were to be placed 
under Lieutenant King's special care. They were of 
different sexes ; the boy, Parkinson, was about three 
years of age, and had lost his mother on the voyage to 
Botany Bay ; the girl was a year older and had a 
mother in the colony, but as she was a woman of 
abandoned character, the child was taken from her, to 
save it from the ruin which otherwise would inevitably 
have befallen it. These children were to be instructed 



566 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

in reading, writing, and husbandry. The Command- 
ant was directed to cause five acres of ground to be 
allotted and cultivated for their benefit. 

In March, the little colony in Norfolk Island was 
threatened with an insurrection. The convicts plotted 
the capture of the island and the seizure of Mr. King's 
person. They had chosen the day when this was to be 
effected, the first Saturday after the arrival of any ship 
in the bay, except the Sirius. They had selected this 
day, as it had for some time been Mr. King's cus- 
tom on Saturdays to visit a farm he had established at 
a little distance from the settlement, and the military 
generally chose that day for bringing in the cabbage- 
palm from the woods. Mr. King was to be secured on 
his way to the farm. A message, in the Commandant's 
name, was to be sent to Mr. Jamison, the surgeon, who 
was to be seized as soon as he got into the woods; and 
the sergeant and the party of soldiers were to be treated 
in the same manner. These being all properly dis- 
posed of, a signal was to be made to the ship in the 
bay to send her boat on shore, the crew of which were 
to be made prisoners on landing ; and two or three of 
the insurgents were to go off in a boat belonging to 
the island, and inform the commanding officer that the 
ship's boat had been stove on the beach, and that the 
Commandant, King, requested thatanother might be sent 
on shore. This also was to be captured ; and then, as 
the last act in this plot, the ship was to be taken, in 
which they designed to proceed to Otaheite, and there 
establish a colony. 

The plot was revealed to a seaman of the Sirius, who 
lived with Mr. King as a gardener, by a female convict 
who cohabited with him. On being acquainted with 
the circumstances, the Commandant took such measures 
as appeared to him necessary to defeat the object of 



LIEUTENANT PHILIP G. KING 567 

the plotters ; and several who were concerned in the 
scheme were arrested and confessed the share they were 
to have had in the execution of it. 

Mr. King had hitherto, from the peculiarity of his 
situation — secluded from society, and confined to a 
small speck in the vast ocean, with but a handful of 
people — drawn them around him, and had treated them 
in a kindly and even confidential and affectionate 
manner ; but now he saw that these felons were too 
ingrained with vice to appreciate such treatment, and 
one of his first steps was to clear the ground as far as 
was possible round the settlement, that future villainy 
might not find a shelter in the woods. To this truly 
providential circumstance many of the colonists were 
afterwards indebted for their lives in an outbreak that 
took place after he had quitted the island. 

At this time there were on the island 16 free people, 
51 male and 23 female convicts, and 4 children. 

In June, 1789, Lieutenant Creswell was sent with 14 
privates of the Marines to Norfolk Island, and with a 
written order from His Excellency requiring Creswell 
to take upon himself the direction and execution of 
the authority invested in Lieutenant King, in the event 
of any accident happening to the latter. 

In March, 1790, 116 male and 68 female convicts 
were sent to Norfolk Island and 27 children. Major 
Ross was appointed to supersede King ; both the 
Sirius and the Supply arrived, but unhappily the former 
ran upon the reef on the 19th April. All the officers 
and people were saved, being dragged on shore through 
the surf on a grating. 

King returned to New South Wales in the Supply. 
There had been disaster and distress in the colony 
there. The sheep had been stolen and the cattle lost 
in the woods, and these were not found till 1795, after 



568 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

they had been lost for seven years, and they were then 
found grazing on a remote clearing, and had increased 
to a surprising degree. 

It was now determined that Lieutenant King should 
return to England and report progress. A Dutch 
vessel was hired to take him and the officers and men 
of the Sirius home. He sailed in the Batavia in April, 

1790, and arrived in England December 20th, 1790. 
Philip Gidley King was appointed Governor of New 

South Wales, September, i8oc, and held that appoint- 
ment till 15th August, 1806, when his health failing 
he returned to England, and died at Lower Tooting, 
Surrey, 3rd September, 1808. 

He was the father of Rear-Admiral Philip Parker 
King, who was born on Norfolk Island, 13th December, 

1 791, after his father had left for England. He entered 
the Royal Navy as first-class volunteer in 1807, mid- 
shipman in 1809, lieutenant in 1814. He married 
Harriet, daughter of Christopher Lethbridge, of 
Launceston, and died at Sydney 25th February, 1856, 
and was buried at Parramatta beside his mother, who 
had been laid there many years before, not having 
come to England. There is no record as to who and 
what she was. 

For information relative to Philip Gidley King his 
Diary may be consulted in John Hunter's Historical 
Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk 
Island, 1795 ; see also David Collins's Account of the 
English Colony of New South Wales, 1798-1802. 



HICKS OF BODMIN 

WILLIAM ROBERT HICKS was born at 
Bodmin on ist April, 1808 — not to be an 
April fool himself, but to be a right merry- 
jester, and not infrequently to make fools 
of others. He was the son of a schoolmaster, and he, 
Sir William Molesworth, of Pencarrow, and Colonel 
Hamley were educated together for a while in the 
school of his father. 

William Robert became Clerk of the Board of 
Guardians, Clerk of the Highway Board, and Gover- 
nor of the County Lunatic Asylum. He was a man 
of many parts, a good mathematician, a clear-headed 
and cool man of business, a musician, who could play 
on the violin and play it well. But he was noted above 
everything else as a humorist. 

He was a short man and inordinately stout, weighing 
sixteen stone. He had a broad, flexible, somewhat 
flabby face, with a pair of twinkling grey eyes, a 
short nose, somewhat protruding thick under lip, and 
double chin that was very pronounced, and whiskers. 
What was noticeable in Hicks's face was its flexibility. 
He possessed the art and the power to tell his story 
with his countenance as with his voice. Indeed, the 
alterations of mood in his face were like a musical 
accompaniment to a song. He was thought the best 
story-teller of his day ; was known as such in Corn- 
wall and Devon, but was not so well appreciated in 
London, where the peculiar dry humour of the West, 

569 



570 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

as well as the dialect, did not appeal to ordinary hearers 
as they do in the two Western Counties. One of his 
many Cornish friends once took Hicks up to town and 
dined him at his club, thinking that he would keep the 
table in a roar. But it was not so. His stories fell 
somewhat flat, and that damped his spirits and he sub- 
sided. 

One of Hicks's earliest and best friends was George 
Wightwick, the architect, born at Mold in Flintshire 
in 1802, who set up as architect in Plymouth in 1829, 
and was employed to build additions to Bodmin 
Gaol in 1842 and 1847. He was author of The 
Palace of Architecture, published in 1840. And though 
he was an excellent raconteur, second only to Hicks, he 
was a most egregiously bad architect. Yet, strangely 
enough, Mr. Wightwick supposed himself to be en- 
lightened in the matter of Gothic architecture, and in 
1835 published in Loudon's Architectural Magazine "A 
few observations on reviving taste for pointed Archi- 
tecture, with an illustrated description of a chapel just 
erected at Bude Haven under the direction of the 
author." 

Wightwick it was who had the merit of discovering 
Hicks and of introducing him to notables in Devon 
and Cornwall, for, miserable architect though he was, 
he had got the ear of the public in the West as a man 
of charming manners and teeming with anecdote. 
Through him Hicks obtained access into many a 
country house, where they would sing, accompanying 
themselves on the violin, and tell stories. 

Hicks was made Governor of Bodmin Asylum in 
1848, and found the old barbarous system of treatment 
of the insane in full swing. He at once adopted gentle 
methods and in a short while radically changed the 
entire mode of treatment, with markedly good results. 





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WILLIAM K. HiCKS 



HICKS OF BODMIN 57' 

One poor fellow, whom he found chained in a dark 
cell on a bed of straw as a dangerous lunatic, he nearly 
cured by kindly treatment. As the fellow showed 
indications of great shrewdness and wit. Hicks released 
him and made much of him. A gentleman on a visit 
to the asylum once said to the lunatic, " I hear, man, 
that you are Hicks's fool." 

"Aw," replied he ; "I zee you do your awn business 
in that line." 

He was once asked, "Whither does this path go, my 
man? " He answered readily, " Zure I cannot tell 'ee. 
I've knawed un bide here these last twenty year." 

He was sitting on the high wall of the asylum that 
commanded the road for some distance, with a turnpike 
at the bottom of the hill. The company of a circus 
passed by, with the various horses. As the manager 
rode past, the lunatic said to him, " 'Ow much might 
'ee pay turnpike for they there spekkady bosses?" 
" Oh," said the manager, "the same as for the others." 
" Do 'ee now? " said the man on the wall. "Well to be 
zure ; my vather 'ad a spekkady boss that never paid no 
turnpike. They there sparky (speckled) bosses don't 
pay no turnpikes here." 

"Bless my life," said the manager; " I am much 
obliged to you for informing me of the fact. So, sir, 
I am to understand that piebald horses are exempt from 
paying at the toll-gate ? " 

' ' What I zed I bides by. They there spekkady bosses 
never pay no turnpikes here in Cornwall. What they 
may do elsewhere, I can't zay." 

The lunatic watched the cavalcade proceed down the 
hill, and when it reached the turnpike, he enjoyed 
watching a lively altercation going on between the 
toll-taker and the manager. Presently the latter came 
galloping back, very hot and angry. 



572 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

"What do you mean by telling me that in Cornwall 
piebald horses pay no turnpike ? " 

"Right it is so — cos you have to pay it vor 'un," 
said the man and stepped out of reach inside the wall. 

One day this same man was put to watch a raving 
maniac, who, for his own safety, when the fit was on 
him, used to be put in a padded room. There was an 
eyehole in the door, and the lunatic, whom Mr. Collier 
calls Daniel, was set to watch him. The poor wretch 
in his ravings called, "Bring down the baggonets ! Oh, 
marcy on me ! Forty thousand Roosians ! Oh ! oh ! 
oh ! I wish I was in Abraham's bosom," and began to 
kick and plunge furiously. On which Daniel shouted 
to him through the hole, "Why I tell'ee if you was, 
you'd kick the guts out of 'un." 

Daniel came from Tavistock, where he used to walk 
out with a girl. As he told the story himself — " I was 
keepin' company with a maid, and I went to the parson. 
Says I to he, ' I want you, however, to promise me wan 
thing,' says I. * What is it? ' says he. ' I want you to 
promise me,' says I, 'never to marry me to thickee 
there maid when I be drunk.' He zaid he'd promise 
me that, quite sure. 'Thankee, your honour,' said I ; 
' then I'm all right, for I'll take damned good care 
you never do it when I'm zober.' " 

Daniel was then in the Volunteers and was out on 
Whitchurch Down in a review. An officer rode up to 
the bugler, and said "Sound a retreat !" The bugler 
tried, but could produce no sound. " Sound a retreat ! " 
roared the officer. Again the bugle would not speak. 
"Sound a retreat!" shouted the officer for the third 
time. "Don't you see that the cavalry are charging 
down on us?" "There now, I can't," replied the 
bugler; "for why? I've gone and spit my quid of 
terbaccer in the mouthpiece o'un." 



HICKS OF BODMIN 573 

Hicks no doubt was quite justified in picking up and 
appropriating to himself stories wherever he could find 
them and from whomsoever he heard them. A common 
friend of ours was with him one day in Plymouth, and 
as they sat on the Hoe my friend told Hicks a couple 
of racy anecdotes about his own work. 

That evening both dined with Lord Mount Edg- 
cumbe, and Hicks told both these stories with immense 
humour, as though they had happened recently — the 
previous week — to himself. 

And certainly some of Hicks's stories are very old 
chestnuts. 

This, for instance, was told by Hicks as having to 
his knowledge occurred to two brothers. Jemmy and 
Sammy, in the Jamaica Inn, on the Bodmin Moors, 
between that town and Launceston. 

They were to sleep in a double-bedded room, and 
they dined and drank pretty freely — the Jamaica Inn is 
now a temperance house — and went to bed. Before 
retiring to rest one of them put out the light. 

After they had been in bed a little while Jemmy said, 
" I say, Sammy, there be a feller in my bed." 

Sammy — " So there be in mine." 

Jemmy — "What shall you do, Sammy?" 

Sam,m,y — " Kick 'un out." 

Jemmy — "So shall I." 

So they both proceeded to kick furiously, with the 
result that each fell out on the opposite side of the bed. 
By mistake in the dark the last to put out the light and 
go to bed had entered his brother's bed. 

I have heard the same tale told of the Yorkshire 
moors some thirty to forty years ago. 

The famous story of Rabbits and Onions, that Hicks 
would tell in such a way as to bring the tears rolling 
down the cheeks with laughter, may or may not be 



574 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

founded on fact, or it may be — and that is probably the 
case — a condensation into one tale of a good deal of 
experience with juries. But the same story is told by 
Rosegger of a trial in Styria. 

The following is almost certainly genuine. Any- 
how, it is an excellent example of the way in which 
Hicks could put a story. 

" I met a man [name given] in Bodmin, and said to 
him, ' You are not looking well. What is the matter?' 

"The man replied that he had spent an indifferent 
night. 

" ' How is that? ' I inquired. 

" ' I sleep with father,' he replied; 'and I woke up 
all in the dead waste and middle of the night, and I 
reached forth my hand and couldn't feel nothing ; so I 
ses, ses I, "Wherever is my poor dear old aged tender 
parent?" I got out of bed and strick a light, all in the 
dead waste and middle of the night, and sarched the 
room ; sarched under the bed and in the cupboards ; 
and ses I, " Wherever is my poor dear old aged tender 
parent ? " 

" ' I went down over the stairs, all in the dead waste 
and middle of the night, and sarched under the stairs 
and in the kitchen ; and ses I, " Wherever is my poor 
dear old aged tender parent ? " 

" ' Then I went to the coal-hole, all in the dead 
waste and middle of the night, and sarched all about ; 
and ses I, " Wherever is my poor dear old aged tender 
parent ? " 

" ' And I went down into the garden, all in the dead 
waste and middle of the night ; and ses I, " Wherever 
is my poor dear old aged tender parent? " 

" 'I went down to the parzley bed, all in the dead waste 
and middle of the night, and there I found 'un. He'd a 
cut his throat with the rape(ing)-hook. I took 'un by 



HICKS OF BODMIN 575 

the hair of his head, and I zaid, ses I, " You darned old 
grizzley blackguard, you've brought disgrace on the 
family." I brought 'un in, and laid 'un on the table, and 
rinned for the doctor ; and he zewed up the throt o'un 
avore the vital spark was 'xtinct. Zo you zee, Mr. 
Hicks, I've had rather an indiffer'nt night.'" 

Here is another of Hicks's stories : — 

A young curate was teaching some boys in the 
Sunday-school, and was impressing on them the duties to 
their parents. 

"What do you owe your mother. Bill Lemon?" 

"I don't owe her nothin' ! her never lent me 
nothin'." 

" But she takes care of you." 

The boy stared. 

" What does she do for you ? " 

"Her gives me a skat in the vace sometimes, and 
tells me to go to " (curate intervenes). 

"That is not what I mean. When you are sick, 
what does she do ? " 

"Wipes it op." 

Hicks, as already intimated, was a very short man, 
very rotund about the belly. Following the Mayor of 
Bodmin into the room on the occasion of a public 
dinner, he heard the Mayor announced in a voice of 
thunder, " The Mayor of Bodmin." Following directly 
after he intimated to the butler "and the Corporation." 
The man, without a moment's consideration, roared out, 
"and the Corporation." 

A man of Hicks's acquaintance — every man of whom 
he had a story to tell was an acquaintance — made a bet 
that he would drink a certain number of gallons of 
cider in a given time. The trial of the feat came off, 
and the man was reduced to the last stage of helplessness, 
in an armchair, his head resting on the back of the 



576 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

chair, his mouth open, utterly unable to proceed, 
when he sighed out to his backers, "Try the taypot ! " 
The spout was used to pour down the liquor and the 
bet was won. 

Hicks had a story of a farmer whom he knew inti- 
mately, and who had been canvassed for the approach- 
ing election, and had promised his vote to the lady of 
the candidate. Said she, "Dear Mr. Polkinghorne, 
when you come up to town, do come and see us, come any 
time — come to dinner. You are sure to be welcome." 

Now, as it so fell out, Zechariah Polkinghorne did 
go to London on some business, and in the evening, 
when his work was over, he called at the member's 
house. As it happened that evening, a dinner party 
was given. When his name was taken up, the mem- 
ber's wife said : " Good gracious ! What is to be done ? 
We must, I suppose, have him in, or he will be mortally 
offended, and next election will not only vote against 
us, but influence a good many more voters." 

So Mr. Polkinghorne was shown up into a room full 
of ladies and gentlemen in evening dress, and felt some- 
what out of it. Presently dinner was announced and he 
went in with the rest and took his place at the table. 

"So sorry, Mr. Polkinghorne," said the lady of the 
house ; " so sorry we have no partner for you to take in ; 
but, you see, you came unexpectedly, and we had not 
time to invite a lady for you." 

"Never mind, ma'am, never mind. It doth remind 
me o' my old sow to home. Her had thirteen little pig- 
lings — zuckers — for a brood, and pore thing had only 
twelve little contrivances for them to zuck to." 

"What did the thirteenth do then, Mr. Polking- 
horne?" 

"Why, ma'am, thickey there little zucker was like 
me now — ^just out in the cold." 




\v ll.l.l.-^.vi k. HICKS (JF l-i(jD.MI\ 
From a Cai'icatiirc 



HICKS OF BODMIN 577 

Hicks was driving along a road in the dark one night 
when he came upon an empty conveyance, and two 
men close to the hedge on the roadside. One man was 
drunk — a Methodist class-leader— but the other was 
sober. The drunken man was lamenting : — 

" Ah, too bad ! What shall I do when I be called to 
my last account ? What shall I zay ? " 

" Zay, Nathaniel?" the sober man said. "What can 
'ee zay but that you've been to Liskeard a auditing of 
accounts, and took an extra glass? 'Twill be over- 
looked for once, sure enough, up there." 

A day or so after Hicks met the sober man, and asked 
how Nathaniel had got on that night. 

The answer was: " He's a terrible affectionate man to 
his family, and when we got home he took the babby 
out o' the cradle for to kiss 'un, and vailed vore with 
'un over a vaggot of vurze. Jane, her got into a 
passion and laid onto 'un with the broomstick, while he 
kep' tumblin' over the babby. When I comed away 
her'd 'a thrashed 'un sober ; and they'd 'a got the 
babby on the dresser, naked, and was a-picking out the 
prickles." 

Hicks knew a man who was of a morose, fanatical 
humour ; and this man had married a widow with a 
brisk, merry wench for a daughter. Once he reproved 
the girl for singing secular songs in this vale of woe, 
and said to her: "Suppose you was took sudden, and 
called to your last account with the Soldier^s Tear in 
your mouth ? " 

Another of his stories was of a chapel where they 
sang a Cornish anthem ; the females began — 

Oh for a man ! oh for a man ! oh for a mansion in the sky ! 

To which the men, basses and tenors, responded — 

Send down sal ! send down sal ! send down salvation from on high ! 
2 P 



578 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

A boy at church — another of Hicks's anecdotes ; he 
knew the boy well — heard the parson give out the banns 
of ' ' John So-and-so and Betsy So-and-so, both of this 
parish. This is the third and last time of asking." 

" Mother," said the lad after service; "I shouldn't 
like it to be proclaimed in church that sister Jane had 
been askin' for a husband dree times afore her got one." 

Again, another story told by Hicks : — 

" Where be you a-bound to this afternoon ? " 

" Gwain to see the football match." 

" Aw ! Like to be a good un ? " 

"Yes, I reckon. There be a lot o' bitter feelin' be- 
twixt the two teams." 

But, indeed, the stories told by William Robert 
Hicks were many, and for those who would desire 
more, let them get Mr. W. F. Collier's Tales and Sayings 
of W, R. Hicks, Plymouth, Brendon and Son, 1893 ; 
and look at "An Illustrious Obscure," by Abraham 
Hayward, Q.c, in the Morning Post, 8th September, 
1868 ; and J. C. Young's Memoirs of C, M. Young, 
1871, Vol. II, pp. 301-8. 

Hicks died at Bodmin 5th September, 1868, at the 
age of sixty. 



CAPTAIN TOBIAS MARTIN 

TOBIAS MARTIN, better known as Cap'n 
Toby, was born in the parish of Wendron 
on January 5th, 1747, and was the son of a 
father of the same name, who was a common 
working miner, but afterwards was advanced to be 
a mine agent, or captain of a mine, which situation he 
retained during the remainder of his life. 

The elder Cap'n Toby was passionately fond of read- 
ing, and read promiscuously whatever came into his 
hand. But his main literary passion was for poetry, 
and he speedily conceived that he possessed the poetic 
afflatus, because he could string lines together that 
rhymed more or less well. He went to a mine near 
Helston, but was never in sufficiently good circum- 
stances to be able to give his children a moderate, let 
alone a superior education. 

Tobias, his second son, inherited the father's love of 
reading and liking for the Muse, and as a boy he 
bitterly lamented that he was not sent to school. 

Deprived through his father's poverty or negligence 
of the means of education enjoyed by others, he re- 
solved on supplying the deficiencies of such instruction 
by self-application. 

From an early age he was employed at the tin-stamp- 
ing mills near Helston and Redruth. After he became 
a man he worked underground on his own account, i.e. 
in working setts that he had taken, and at other times 
on what is termed among miners "tutwork and tribute." 

579 



58o CORNISH CHARACTERS 

He had a great ambition to learn French, and studied 
diligently a French grammar that he found among his 
father's books ; but, of course, remained perfectly 
ignorant of the pronunciation, though able to write 
a few sentences and read a book in that language. 

Proud of the former capability, he composed some 
lines in French, or what he supposed to be French, 
and wrote them on the belfry door. A Mr. William 
Sandys, an attorney at Helston, happening to see these 
lines, inquired who had written them, and when he 
learned that they were by Toby Martin, he gave him 
a letter to a Mrs. Brown, who had resided some time 
in France, and was believed to have the language 
at her tongue's end, to this effect: "The Bearer, 
Tobias Martin, wishes to learn French, but his poc- 
kets are low." From her Toby did receive some 
lessons. 

Mr. Sandys occasionally employed him, as he could 
write well, to assist in his office; he also appointed him 
toller of the dues arriving from tin-bounds in Breage, 
belonging to the Praed family, which appointment he 
held to the time of his death. 

In 1772 he married Mary Peters, of Helston, and by 
her had ten children, four sons and six daughters. In 
the same year, and, indeed, at the very same time, Mr. 
Sandys offered him a situation as escort to his eldest 
son, Mr. William Sandys, into France, where the latter 
was to remain so as to acquire proficiency in the French 
language. And — what was somewhat rough on Toby 
— he had to leave with his charge the day after his 
marriage. The place chosen for William Sandys to 
acquire French was singularly badly chosen : it was 
Painpol, in Brittany, where the natives talk Breton, 
and what French they do speak is of an inferior quality 
and very unlike that spoken in Paris or Touraine. 



CAPTAIN TOBIAS MARTIN 581 

After having seen his charge safe to Painpol, Toby 
returned to Helston and to his wife. 

Next year (1773) in August Toby was despatched 
again to Painpol, this time to bring young William 
home. On his return he set to work to acquire the 
Dutch language and learn Latin ; but, indeed, there 
was scarcely a subject that did not attract him, and that 
he did not strive to acquire some knowledge of. It was 
unfortunate for him that his studies were so desultory, 
that he was " Jack of many trades and master of none." 

Some years after his return from France he was 
appointed captain at Camborne Vean Mine. He also 
held the situation of managing agent of Wheal Heriot's 
Foot, commonly called Herod's Foot, near Liskeard. 

A story is told of him which Mr. Tregellas gives in 
his Cornish Character and Characteristics under a 
fictitious name. Captain Toby was having his pint of 
ale at a tavern, when in comes a miner who was wont 
to be called "Old Blowhard," and was not esteemed 
trusty or diligent as a workman. 

" How are 'ee, Capp'n ? " says Bill. 

' ' Clever. How art thee ? " 

" Purty well as for health," says Bill, " but I want a 
job. Can 'ee give us waun ovver to your new bal ? " 

"No, we're full," replied the Captain. 

" How many men have 'ee goat ovver theere?" asked 
Old Blowhard. 

"How many? Why we've two sinking a air-shaft 
through the flockan, and two to taakle, and that's 
fower ; and theere's two men in the oddit, and a booay 
to car tools and that, and that makes three moore, and 
that oaltogether es seben." 

" And how many cappuns have 'ee goat? " said Bill. 

"How many? Why ten." 

"What ! ten cappuns to watch over seben men? I 



582 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

doan't b'lieve you can maake that out, for the 'venturers 
would'n stand it." 

"'Tes zackly so then, and I'll maak it out to 'ee in 
a moment. Waun cappun es 'nough we oal knaw, but 
at the laast mittin, the 'venturers purposed to have waun 
of the 'venturers' sons maade a cappun, and to larn, they 
said ; and so a draaper's son, called Sems, was put weth 
me from school, at six pound a month, and a shaare of 
what we had in the 'count-house." 

" Well, but how can you maake ten of you and he?" 

"Why, I'll tell 'ee how, and you mind 'nother time, 
Bill, for theere's somethin' of scholarin' in ut. Now see 
this : I myself am waun, baent I?" 

"Iss, sure," said Bill. 

"Well, and theest oft to knaw that young Sems es 
nawthin' ; well, when theest ben to school so long as I 
have, theest knaw that waun with a nought attached to 
un do maake lo, and so 'tes zackly like that." 

In the year 1790 Toby's wife died, and he was left 
with all his ten children on his hands. One of these 
soon died, and he sent for the sexton, who, after having 
been regaled with liquor, declared with gushing emo- 
tion, "Lor' bless ee, Cap'n Toby, I'd as soon deg a 
grave for 'ee as for any man with whom I be ac- 
quainted." In 1792 he married Ann James, a widow, 
who kept a small public-house at Porthleven, and by 
her had four children, two sons and two daughters. 

A short time after his marriage he took the Horse 
and Jockey Tavern in Helston, which he kept for four 
years, and then the " Helston Arms," of which he was 
host for five more. He still retained his situation of 
mine-agent in Wheal Ann tin mine in Wendron, about 
two and a half miles from Helston, where, on quitting 
the last-mentioned inn, and after the mine had failed, 
he lived for some years as captain of Wheal Trevenen, 



CAPTAIN TOBIAS MARTIN 583 

which was run by a company, but the smelting was 
consigned to a speculator of Truro named Daubuz,^ 
who had with him one Coad as a clerk. After a while 
Martin supposed that Daubuz was swindling the com- 
pany, and about the same time Coad quarrelled with 
Daubuz, and pretended to reveal how he had been 
cheating ; thereupon the Adventurers set up their own 
smelting works. Martin's account of Daubuz must 
not be accepted as true. He wrote full of vindictive 
hate. Anyhow, a misunderstanding arose between 
him and the company respecting his accounts. The 
Adventurers debited him with a large sum, which 
ought to have been and was afterwards charged to 
the purser. In September, 181 1, at a general meet- 
ing of the Adventurers, a Mr. Wyatt, auditor of 
the accounts, accused Captain Toby of having falsi- 
fied his books. This he stoutly denied, and insisted 
that his accounts were correct. In November, 181 1, 
he received his dismissal, not as having acted fraudu- 
lently, but on the plea that he was too old and past 
work. He was discharged accordingly in his sixty- 
second year, and he applied for and got work at other 
mines. A year passed before Captain Toby could have 
his accounts investigated, and then he received from 
the purser a copy of an account, wherein a balance of 
;^i09 6s. 6d. appeared against him. To this he ob- 
jected, and a dispute arose that lasted some time. 

On February ist, 1812, he was arrested for debt, and 
confined in the sheriff's ward at Bodmin for over two 
months before an accommodation was arrived at, and 
he was discharged. 

As he could not get Mr. Wyatt to have the accounts 
inspected, for he proved shifty, Captain Toby was 

' He calls Daubuz a Jew. The first Daubuz to settle at Truro was a 
Moses. But the family claims Huguenot extraction. 



584 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

obliged to appeal to the Vice- Warden of the Stannaries 
to issue an order for the investigation of the accounts. 
This alarmed Wyatt, and it was mutually agreed 
that they should be gone through by Mr. Richard 
Tyacke, of Godolphin. Mr. Tyacke in a very short 
time found that the balance against Martin was only 
;£'29 1 8s. 4d., and that then there was owing to him from 
the company nearly a twelvemonth's wage. He accord- 
ingly in February, 1813, published the following 
notice : — 

"7b the Public. 
"Having been requested to examine some disputed 
accounts between Trevenen Adventurers and Captain 
Tobias Martin, I find from investigation that the errors 
in dispute were not contained in his account, but in 
those prepared against him. 

"Richard Tyacke." 

After this he received from the company the balance 
of his salary, and that put an end to the business. His 
connection with Wheal Trevenen having ceased, he 
worked at Wheal Vorah as captain to 1817, when he 
was in his sixty-ninth year. Then he was appointed 
storekeeper to the mine and to keep the stock accounts 
at six guineas per month ; and this situation he filled 
till March, 181 7, when in his seventy-ninth year he 
was superannuated at three and a half guineas per 
month. 

On June 4th, 1825, his wife died, and not long 
after he received the news of the death of his 
eldest son, Tobias, under tragical circumstances, at 
Washington, U.S.A. The younger Tobias and his 
wife had a daughter, a child who went gathering fruit 
in the hedges of some land belonging to a rough 
fellow, who finding her there, carried away her basket 



CAPTAIN TOBIAS MARTIN 585 

and took as well some of her wearing apparel. When 
Tobias Martin the younger heard of this he and his 
wife went to remonstrate and ask for the return of the 
basket and the garments. An altercation ensued, and 
the man of whom they complained with his revolver 
shot Tobias Martin dead. 

This shock broke down the old captain. He had 
always loved his glass, but now he took to it more 
freely than ever, and was often intoxicated. 

He died on April gth, 1828, in the eighty-first year 
of his age, and he was buried in Breage churchyard. 

Captain Tobias Martin's poems were published at 
Helston in 1831, and a second edition in 1856. They 
are absolutely worthless as poetry, and one may look 
in vain through them to find an original or a poetic 
idea. But as we have given this man's life, a specimen 
of the stuff he wrote must also be given, and one of 
his shortest compositions will suffice. 

Come, sweet content ! best g-ift of bounteous heav'n, 
Correct my mind and bend my stubborn ways ; 

'Tis thou alone canst make life's journey even, 
And crown with happiness my future days. 

Why should I gfrieve or murmur at my lot ? 

Why disobedient to the heav'nly will ? 
I cannot turn my thoughts where God is not, 

He is my comfort and my refuge still. 

Blest with content, I will observe His ways ; 

On earth I can no greater blessing find. 
Serene and calm, thus let me spend my days, 

And banish discontentment from my mind. 

In his religious views Toby Martin was a Deist or 
Unitarian. In personal appearance he was inclined 
to corpulency. His countenance was large and open, 
and he stood five feet nine inches high. 



THE MAYOR OF BODMIN 

WHEN Henry VIII died, Edward VI was 
aged but ten, and the unprincipled Protec- 
tor Somerset took the reins of power into 
his own hands ; and as he was a strong 
partisan of the reformers, and enriched himself on the 
plunder of the Church, he carried out what he con- 
sidered to be reforms with a high hand, with the assist- 
ance of the Council, which was filled with creatures 
equally rapacious and equally devoid of principle. As 
the monasteries had all been suppressed, and the 
monks and nuns turned adrift, these poor homeless 
wretches wandered over the country entreating alms. 
In November, 1548, an Act was passed ordering all 
such to be branded on the hand, and on repetition of 
the offence to be adjudged to slavery. 

The baneful effects of the dissolution of the monas- 
teries had, moreover, been severely felt by the people, 
for the monks had been ever ready to afford shelter and 
relief in sickness or distress, and the indigent were 
now driven to frightful extremities throughout the land, 
much as would be the case nowadays were the work- 
houses and poor laws to be abolished. The monks, 
moreover, had been most kind and considerate land- 
lords, and, always residing in their monasteries, what 
money they drew in rents from their tenants was spent 
on the land. But no sooner were the rapacious hands 
of the nobles laid on the property of the Church, than 
these new proprietors demanded exorbitant rents, and 

586 



THE MAYOR OF BODMIN 587 

very generally spent the money in London. The 
cottagers were reduced to misery by the enclosure of 
the commons on which they had formerly fed their 
cattle. 

Added to all this came violent changes in the services 
of the Church. Candles were forbidden to be carried 
on Candlemas Day, ashes to be used on Ash Wednes- 
day, and palms on Palm Sunday ; all images were to 
be removed from the churches, and even the sacred 
form of the Redeemer on the Cross above the rood 
wa;s not respected. 

Several of the bishops objected to these proceedings, 
but Somerset was inexorable. Then several colleges, 
chantries, and free chapels, as well as fraternities and 
guilds, were abolished, and their lands and goods con- 
fiscated to the King, which, being sold at very small 
prices, enriched many of the Protestant hangers-on of 
the Court, and strengthened their resolution to maintain 
the changes. 

These violent and hasty proceedings provoked wide- 
spread discontent and even exasperation. The first 
disturbances arose in the county of Cornwall, where 
one Body, a commissioner sent down to "purify" the 
churches, was stabbed in the back whilst pulling down 
images in a church.^ Thence they quickly spread into 
the counties of Devon, Wilts, Somerset, Hants, Sussex, 
Kent, Essex, Gloucester, Hereford, Worcester, 
Leicester, Oxford, Norfolk, and York. In most parts 
the rioters were quickly put down, but the disorders 
in Devonshire and Norfolk threatened more dangerous 
consequences (1549). The commotion first broke out 

• The murderer was William Kilter, priest of S. Keveme, and he 
killed William Body, the lessee of the archdeaconry of Cornwall, in 
Helston Church as he was engaged in smashing the images, sth April, 
1548. For this he was hanged; drawn, and quartered, 7th July, 1548. 



«:■.' 



588 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

at Sampford Courtenay on Whit Monday, the day after 
the Act for reforming the Church Service had been 
put in force. The people assembled and forced the 
priest to say Mass in the ancient manner, instead of 
using the Book of Common Prayer, The commotion 
spread through the adjoining parishes, and many came 
up out of Cornwall ; many of the disaffected gentry 
of the two counties placed themselves at the head 
of the insurgents ; among them were Sir Thomas 
Pomeroy, Mr. Coffin, and Mr. Humphry Arundell, 
and the body swelled to 10,000 men. They then laid 
siege to Exeter, but the citizens shut their gates 
against them. Some attempts were made to scale 
the walls, which being repulsed, the rebels en- 
deavoured to gain admittance by burning the gates. 
The citizens, by adding more wood to the fires, kept 
the enemy back till they had raised fresh defences 
within. After this the insurgents sought to effect a 
breach by mining the walls. Having completed their 
mine, laid their powder, and rammed the mouth, before 
they could explode it the citizens had drenched the 
powder by means of a countermine filled with water. 

Lord Russell, glutted with the plunder of the 
Church, was sent to relieve the city, but the rebels 
cut down trees and laid them in his way, so that he 
could not approach, and after burning some villages 
he determined on withdrawing to Honiton. He now 
found his retreat cut off, and he was constrained to 
give battle on Clyst Heath, and defeated them with 
great slaughter, killing 600 men. " Such was the 
valour and stoutness of these men," says Hooker, 
"that the Lord Grey reported himself that he never, 
in all the wars that he had been in, did know the like." 
The ringleaders were taken and executed. The vicar 
of S. Thomas by Exeter, who was with them, was 



THE MAYOR OF BODMIN 589 

conveyed to his church and hanged from the tower, 
where his body was left to dangle for four years. 

The defeat was on the 7th August, and the rebels 
were pursued to Launceston, every one falling into the 
hands of the King's troops being put to death, 
Arundell and other gentlemen were, however, taken 
prisoners. The Lords of the Council wrote to Lord 
Russell on the 21st August congratulating him on his 
success, and directing him to search for Sir Thomas 
Pomeroy, and to "send up Sir Humphry Arundell, 
Maunder, and the Mayor of Bodmin, and two or three 
of the rankest traitors." They desired him to delay 
a short time the issue of a general pardon. In the 
same month Lord Russell, William, Lord Grey of 
Wilton, and Sir William Herbert, informed the 
Council that they sent up Pomeroy, Arundell, and 
other prisoners ; and they observed that Castle, 
Arundell's secretary, went up not as a prisoner, but 
as an accuser of his former employer. 

Nicholas Boyer, the Mayor of Bodmin, had escaped 
capture. But the King's army pursued the dispersed 
Cornishmen into the duchy ; and Sir Anthony King- 
ston, Provost-Marshal, arrived at Bodmin, where the 
Mayor was snugly ensconced in his house, and con- 
gratulating himself on his escape, trusted that it was 
not known that he had taken part in the rising. 

No sooner was Sir Anthony in the town than he 
wrote to Boyer, announcing his intention of dining 
with him on a certain day. The Mayor felt highly 
honoured at such a mark of confidence and condescen- 
sion, and made great preparations, brought out his 
best plate and linen and wine, and ordered pasties and 
siskins and dainty cates of all kinds to be prepared in 
his kitchen, so as to receive his guest with becoming 
hospitality. 



590 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

A little before dinner the Provost took him aside and 
whispered in his ear that execution must that day be 
done in the town, and nowhere so suitably as in the 
street in front of Boyer's door, and he desired that a 
gallows might be erected by the time the dinner was 
ended. The Mayor complied with the request, and 
during the meal the hammering of the carpenters could 
be heard. The Provost was cheery and jocose, and if 
Boyer had been nervous at first, this wore off under the 
friendly conversation of his guest. 

When dinner was concluded, Sir Anthony asked if 
the little job he had ordered had been carried out, and 
when Boyer assured him that it was so, "I pray you," 
said the Provost, "bring me to the place." There- 
upon he took the Mayor by the hand and led him forth 
before his door, in the kindliest manner imaginable. 

On seeing the gallows, the Provost asked Boyer 
whether he thought them strong enough to sustain the 
weight of a stout man. "Aye," replied the Mayor; 
"doubtless they be so." 

"Well, then," said the Provost, "get up speedily, 
for they are prepared for you." 

" I hope," exclaimed the astonished and disconcerted 
Mayor, " that you mean not what you speak." 

" In very faith," said Sir Anthony Kingston, "there 
is no remedy, for you have been a busy rebel." 

And so, without trial or defence, he was hanged 
before his own door by the man who had just dined at 
his table. 

Sir John Hayward, who relates this incident, tells 
also the story of a miller who resided near Bodmin. 
This man had been a "busy rebel," and fearing the 
wrath of the Provost-Marshal, he told a "sturdy, tall 
fellow, his servant," that he had occasion to go from 
home, and that if any one should inquire for the miller, 



THE MAYOR OF BODMIN 591 

the fellow should affirm that he was the man, and that 
he had been so for three years. The Provost came to 
the mill and inquired for the miller, and the servant 
at once presented himself as such. The Provost in- 
quired how long he had kept the mill. "These three 
years," answered the servant. 

"String him up on the nearest tree!" ordered Sir 
Anthony, 

The fellow then cried out that he was not the miller, 
but the miller's man. "Nay, sir," said the Provost, 
' ' I will take thee at thy word ; and if thou beest the 
miller, thou art a busy knave ; if thou beest not, thou 
art a false lying knave; whatsoever thou art, thou 
shalt be hanged." When others told him that the 
man was in reality only the miller's servant, the Provost 
replied, " Could he ever have done his master a better 
service than to hang in his stead?" and so he was 
despatched. 

Hals says: " Mayow, of Cleoyan, in S. Columb 
Major, was hanged at a tavern signpost in that town, 
of whom tradition says his crime was not capital ; and 
therefore his wife was advised by her friends to hasten 
to the town after the Marshal and his men, who had 
him in custody, and beg for his life, which accordingly 
she prepared to do. And to render herself the more 
amiable petitioner before the Marshal's eyes, this dame 
spent so much time in attiring herself, and putting on 
her French hood, then in fashion, that her husband 
was put to death before her arrival. In like manner 
the Marshal hanged John Payne, the mayor or port- 
reeve of St. Ives, on a gallows erected in the middle 
of that town, whose arms are still to be seen in one 
of the fore seats in that church, viz, in a plain field, 
three pineapples." 

Humphry Arundell, who had headed the rebels. 



592 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

was the son of Roger Arundell, of Helland, and he 
had been appointed Governor of S. Michael's Mount 
in 1539. He had married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir 
John Fulford. After his capture he was taken up to 
London, confined in the Tower, and hanged at Tyburn, 
27th January, 1549-50. Sir Thomas Pomeroy, of Berry 
Pomeroy, managed to save his life, but suffered severely 
in his estate. He married Jane, daughter of Sir Piers 
Edgcumbe, of Cothele. 

Strype tells us that "when this rebellion was well 
allayed, it was remembered how the bells in the 
churches served, by ringing, to summon and call in 
the disaffected unto their arms. Therefore, in Septem- 
ber, an order was sent down from the Council to the Lord 
Russell, to execute a work that proved no doubt highly 
disgustful to the people, viz. to take away all the bells 
in Devonshire and Cornwall, leaving only one in each 
steeple, which was to call the people to church. And 
this partly to prevent the like insurrection for the 
future, and partly to help to defray the charges the 
King had been at among them." 

Strype adds that "two gentlemen of those parts. 
Champion (Champernon) and (Sir John) Chichester, 
assistant perhaps against the rebels, took this oppor- 
tunity to get themselves rewarded, by begging, not the 
bells, but the bell-clappers only, which was granted 
them, with the ironwork and furniture thereunto be- 
longing. And no question they made good benefit 
thereof." 



JOHN NICHOLS TOM, 

alias SIR WILLIAM COURTENAY, K.M. 

THIS strange man was the son of William 
Tom, landlord of the "Joiners' Arms," S. 
Columb, and of his wife Charity Bray — 
"Cracked Charity" was the nickname she 
bore — who died in the County Lunatic Asylum, and it 
was from his mother that the subject of this memoir 
derived the bee that was in his bonnet. 

John Nichols was born at S. Columb Major on 
November loth, 1799, and he owed his name to a kins- 
man of his mother — his godfather, a well-to-do-farmer, 
who was unmarried. 

At an early age John Nichols Tom showed a mis- 
chievous disposition. He was turned out of the dame's 
school at which he had been placed for cutting off the 
whiskers of her favourite cat. At the next school 
where he was placed he exhibited the characteristic 
vanity that was a leading feature through life. He 
liked to be thought to know more than any of his 
fellow pupils. One day he propounded to them the 
question : — 

"Who is Neptune? I bet none of you know." 

"Neptune, "replied one urchin, "is my father's New- 
foundland dog." 

"Then who is Venus?" 

"She is mother's spaniel bitch," answered one of the 
boys. 

2 Q 593 



594 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

John Nichols in a fury fell on both with his fists. 

" No such thing. Neptune is a god, and Venus is a 
goddess." 

A general fray was the result, out of which our hero 
came mauled. 

When it became time for him to strike out a course 
in life, he was placed in an attorney's office, and he 
conducted himself there well. 

A fire broke out on the premises of the elder Tom 
and consumed the house. This occasioned Mrs. Tom 
to sink into a condition of profound melancholy, and 
she rapidly became so wholly insane that she had to be 
confined in an asylum, where some years later she 
died, and then Mr. Tom married a schoolmistress who 
lived on the other side of the road. This did not 
please John Nichols, and he quitted the attorney's 
office and was placed in the firm of Plumer and 
Turner, wine merchants and maltsters at Truro, as 
cellarman. After five years' service the firm came to 
an end, and Tom then began to trade on his own 
account. He married Catherine, second daughter of a 
Mr. Philpot, of Truro, whose elder sister Julia was 
engaged to a Mr. Hugo. Tom moved into his father- 
in-law's house, which was old and dilapidated, and 
rebuilt it as a commodious mansion, with spacious 
premises in its rear for the carrying on of the business 
of a maltster. But on a sudden a fire broke out in 
this newly-constructed malt-house, and speedily con- 
sumed all that had been built for his business. Folk 
naturally concluded that, as Tom had recently had 
some losses, he had set fire to his premises, that were 
insured for ;^300o, and they remembered that his 
father's house had also been insured and been burnt 
down. But Tom demanded that a most searching 
inquiry should be made as to the cause of the fire, and 




JOHN TIIOMAm, OTHliKWlMi SIK Wll, 1,1AM UOUKTENAY, WHO SHOT 
LIEUTENANT BENNET IN BASENDEN WOOD, BOUGHION, NEAR CANTER- 
BURY, AM) THE CONSTABLE MEARS, ON THURSDAY, MAY S I '^ 1 . 1838 



JOHN NICHOLS TOM 595 

the insurance company, satisfying itself that it was 
accidental, paid the sum without demur. With the 
money thus received he rebuilt his premises, and con- 
tinued the business. Those who saw much of him 
were convinced that, as they termed it, "there was a 
screw loose somewhere." He affected an unusual 
dress, and tried to induce his wife to assume a habit 
that would have caused her to be mobbed in the streets. 
He moreover became great as an orator, denouncing 
the Church, the aristocracy, and all organized govern- 
ments. In a word, he was a Socialist of the day. 

Two years later he made a considerable sum of 
money by a successful venture in malt at Liverpool. 
The result of the transaction may be gathered from 
the following letter which he wrote to his wife, and 
which was the last she ever received from him : — 

" Liverpool, May 3, 1832. 
** My dear Wife, 

" I merely wish to inform you that I have just 
discharged the vessel of the malt, which has given 
every satisfaction to the purchasers. The measurement 
has exceeded my expectations by twenty-four Win- 
chesters. There are the malt sacks in the vessel, and 
also half a bushel of the bottom scrapings ; this you 
will get screened immediately. I am well and in good 
spirits (thank God for it). As I shall write to you again 
in a day or two, my letter will be short. The letter 
you will receive by post shall contain all I have to say, 
and as it will be subsequent to this I need not prolong. 
I have paid the captain of the vessel all the freight. 
" With the kindest regards to all, 

" I remain, yours affectionately, 

"John Nichols Tom." 



596 CORNISH CHARACTERS 

The letter was rational enough, but it was the last 
rational act he committed, as this also was the last 
time that he signed his name as above. 

For some time his imagination had been influenced 
by stories that circulated relative to Lady Hester 
Stanhope, the "Queen of Lebanon," of her wealth, her 
authority over Arabs and Druses, of her prophecies 
and expectations of the near coming of the Messiah to 
institute the millennium ; and he felt convinced that he 
was predestined to be the forerunner or herald to 
announce the coming advent of Christ. He had read 
a translation of Lamartine's Travels in the East, in which 
it was stated that, according to Eastern prophecy, the 
Messiah would ride into Jerusalem on a mare foaled 
ready saddled, and that Lady Hester had such a mare 
ready for the advent of the Prince of Peace. "Since 
destiny," said Lady Hester to Lamartine, "has sent 
you hither — permit me to confide to you what I have 
hitherto concealed from so many of the profane. Come, 
and you shall see with your own eyes a prodigy of 
Nature, the de